Silverfish: Chapter 24

“Your accent is passable, Jerin’s may be problematic.”  Jakob exhaled.  “I suggest you let us do the talking.”

“You do remember that he’s security and I’m espionage, right?”  Jerin grinned at Jakob. “I know how to avoid military attention.”

(more…)

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Silverfish: Chapter 23

Kyle felt the man next to him start to slide out of the bed and pulled him back.  “Where do you think you’re going?”  He smiled as he leaned in to kiss the back of Jakob’s neck.  “Shift doesn’t start for a couple hours yet.”

(more…)

Silverfish: Chapter 22

It felt strange to be in civilian clothes.  Even stranger to be wearing Alliance fashions.  The long sleeveless jacket flared a bit as he walked.  Next to him, Anson was dressed similarly.  Julian selected a ripe fruit from a vendor, then a second one.  He tossed one casually to Anson before leaving a credit piece for the merchant and continuing on.

(more…)

Silverfish: Chapter 20

“You really didn’t know.”  Anson leaned in the door of the infirmary’s office.

Doctor Narel was sitting at the desk, his head bowed, and his hands clasped behind his neck.  “I thought it a defensive facility.”  He didn’t look up.  “Not an offensive…”  He took a deep breath.  “Not an offense.”

He entered, shutting the door behind him.  Then he took a deep breath of his own before sitting down across from the doctor.  He removed the datachit from his vest pocket and set it on the desk halfway between them.  “I downloaded their…”  He sighed.  “Pull the information on the vaccines and treatments off this, then dump the rest.”

For a moment, Jakob stared at the chit.  He slowly lifted his head to meet Anson’s eyes.  “Commander?”

“I…”  Anson swallowed.  “Would appreciate it if this stayed between us.  We can tell them it was separate files, or the rest got corrupted, or…”  He shook his head.  “I can’t take the chance some asshole with more rank than decency will get notions about poetic justice and…”  He shrugged.  “Can you do that, or should I dump the chit entirely?”

“If anyone learns of this, Anson…”  Jakob picked up the datachit.

“Fuck…”  Anson twitched his shoulder and managed to smile.  “What’s a little light treason between friends, right?”

Jakob laughed softly.  “It was a spur of the moment operation, chance rather than planning.  You grabbed what little data you could before the Alliance came to investigate…”

“And blew the place to deny them a resource.”  Anson nodded.  “Not like we had orders regarding it to disobey.”  He leaned forward again, resting his arms on the desk.  “You alright, Doc?”

“I am…”  Jakob nodded.  “Reevaluating ideals.”  He looked away.  “I did not pick up a weapon, Anson.  Yet I gave orders that may have resulted in deaths.”

“You gave information.”  Anson shook his head.  “I gave the orders.  You let me —”

“It does not work that way.”  He rubbed his neck again.  “There was a time I believed all lives had value.  That all lives were worthwhile, worth saving.  That everyone deserved to live.”  He set his arms on the desk.

“Being in command means having to make decisions.  Kill one man to save ten.  Let ten men die for the chance to save a thousand.”  Anson swallowed.  “Order one man to die, so the rest might live.”  He reached over and put his hand atop Jakob’s.  “Don’t lose sight of those ideals, Doc, because they aren’t wrong.  Our job in all this is to save as many as we can.”

The other man’s hand turned over to briefly grip his own.  “Yes.”  Jakob nodded.  “Our job is to save as many as we can.”

(more…)

Silverfish: Chapter 19

“A decrypted intelligence core.”  Mateo stared at Anson.

“A hundred years from now, when kids are learning about this war in history class…”  Anson folded his arms.  “Jerin and his boys are going to have a full paragraph dedicated to them.”

“Not unless we get it through the barricade.”  Mateo swallowed.  “Holy shit.” He exhaled.  “How are they?”

“Doc kept Lukas breathing.  He’s still too messed up to leave the infirmary, but Doc said he’ll make it.”  Anson sighed, then twitched his shoulder.  “Doc can’t promise a full recovery without more supplies.”

“And Yasir?”  Mateo raised an eyebrow.

“Pushed the limits on the shield, but came through without complications.”  Anson let his arms fall to his sides.  “Captain…”

“If we stay out here, we are going to die.  And cost Palindor the best shot it has had since this war began.”  Mateo nodded, then turned to look out the viewport.  “I know.  And I am very open to suggestions on how to get past that barricade.”

“I’ll toss it out to the crew.”  Anson squared his shoulders.  “See if any of them get a sudden burst of genius.”

(more…)

Silverfish: Chapter 18

Mateo stepped into the office attached to the infirmary, and frowned.  It was empty.  “Captain?”

The voice behind him made him start.  “Doc.”  He looked around the infirmary.  “I could have sworn you weren’t in here a moment ago.”

Jakob sighed, then held up a scanner.  “I was just recalibrating one of the operating tables.”  He shook his head, then gestured at the leftmost one.  “Again.”

“It’s malfunctioning?”  He walked over to see the open display.  “What’s wrong with it?”

“Standard wear and tear.  Unfortunately, the correct parts are not available.”  Jakob set the scanner down on top of the table, then began closing it back up.  “If we could refrain from having more than six crewmembers seriously injured at once, I would greatly appreciate it.”

“Yeah.”  Mateo nodded.  “Me too.”  He shrugged.  “I was just checking in, doing an informal inspection.”  He looked down at the operating table.  “Guess you just answered my question.”

“I am certain you are receiving the same answer in every department.  We are running low on both critical supplies and methods of working around those needs.”  Jakob shook his head before looking around the infirmary.  “This style of ship was not intended for long term missions.”  When Mateo glanced at him, Jakob gave him a half smile.  “Commander Anson has provided me with military training manuals and readings.  It is not the most scintillating reading material I have ever been assigned, however we both felt it was important I have the knowledge expected of an officer.”

“Anson is usually right about that kind of thing.”  He sighed.  “We are going to have to make planetfall soon, one way or another.  Check the local systems and note any planets we don’t have the proper innocul…”  He trailed off as Jakob handed him a datapad, then smiled.  “And in the proper format too.  You’re getting the hang of this.”

(more…)

Learning Photoshop: Asteroids

Sometimes, you’re just in the mood to destroy all life on a planet.  Now, you could go with a bomb, you could go with a plague, but let’s face it.  Nothing quite satisfies the urge like a classic ‘rocks fall, everyone dies’.  So, I’m using this tutorial.

My results?

10.22-Asteroid

I could stand to clean up my dust trails a bit, and maybe add some fire on the front.  Or duct tape a little screaming person on the front, that works too.

Bringal System

The Bringal system is unusual.  Unusual enough that some suspect the system to have been manufactured in some way.

A massive gas giant orbits near the sun, known as a ‘hot Jupiter’.  This itself isn’t what makes the system unusual.  The first thing that makes the system unusual is that the gas giant is inhabited.  The inhabitants, known colloquially as ‘star whales’ are massive, semi-draconic life forms.  Little is known about them save that they are clearly of high intelligence and appear to have several life stages.  During at least one of their life stages, they are capable of not just surviving but actively thriving in vacuum.  From time to time ships encounter them swimming in the far reaches of space.

It is possible Bringal is not their home system, but merely a colony.  If that is the case, then their origins are entirely unknown.  They are, however, not the only odd thing about the Bringal system.  The gas giant itself hosts no fewer than four inhabitable moons.  Additionally, on the other edge of the habitable zone are two more habitable planets, with the smaller one orbiting the larger.

Furthermore, examination of the life forms found on these planets would indicate that they are not native to the system themselves.  It is theorized that for reasons of their own, the star whales built the system and used it to house life forms collected from other worlds.  Some think that the Bringal system is the star whale equivalent of a zoo, while others think that the star whales may have been collecting species that would otherwise have died out or been destroyed.

Thus far, the star whales have not shown overt signs of hostility.  However, if threatened, they have proved capable of destroying warships with very little effort.  They seem willing to allow ships into the system as long as the ships do not engage in hostility themselves.  As such, the Bringal system serves as an effective neutral zone.  Unfortunately, it also serves pirates as a safe haven, though it is worth noting that particularly vicious pirates that try to use the system as a refuge often simply vanish.  Perhaps the star whales handle the matter themselves?

Photoshop: Back into Space

Being that my upcoming NaNoWriMo project is science fiction, I decided to head back into outer space for a while.  This time, I went with this tutorial.

My results?

I have to say, that is probably the best nebula I’ve created thus far.  Not overly pleased with the lens flare, but eh, good enough and easily adjustable.  I didn’t use the texture provided in the tutorial, as it didn’t suit the desert planet look I was going for.  This will be the world of Laatstehoop, one of the lost human colonies.  The Dutch pilot who managed the barely controlled landing of the colony ship on this world dubbed it their ‘final hope’.

A Habitable, Terrestrial World

The dominant race is going to arise with the S-type star system I created earlier.   The planet in question will be a bit larger than Earth, and possess a higher but still human-tolerable gravity.  It’s less dense than earth, however, which implies that it either has less iron or more water / ice in its makeup.

It will be orbiting the primary star of the system, and as I calculated earlier, it will be orbiting a star 1.2 times the mass of ours at 1.59 AU.  That puts it at the fifth rock from the sun, assuming I decide to use all the orbits.

Property Calculation Full Calculation Unit
Radius 1.49 9,492.790 Kilometers
Mass 3 1.792E+25 Kilograms
Gravity 1.351 13.252 Meters/Second^2
Density 0.907 4.671 Grams/Centimeter^3
Escape Velocity 1.419 15.892 Kilometers/Second
Circumference 9.362 59,644.959 Kilometers
Surface Area 27.899 1.13E+09 Kilometers^2
Volume 13.856 3.58E+12 Kilometers^3

As you can see, that 50% increase in the planet’s radius gave us a much bigger surface to work with than is possessed by Earth, even if we do dedicate a lot of that to oceans.

All we know about the planet at this point is that it’s big and wet.  Yay?  However, we can extrapolate a few things.  This is the home planet of our dominant race, thus it will have possessed resources sufficient to have developed a space-faring culture.  The world will be very highly developed, perhaps at this point in its history it is getting low on natural resources and must import.  Or perhaps the culture upon it strives to preserve its homeworld, and thus conducts most of dirty industry on bases on the neighboring planets or its moon.

Speaking of which, since this is a stable, habitable planet, it needs a moon.  Rings would be cool, but rings make heading into space difficult.  A single large moon will be sufficient.  However, I’m going to make this moon different from Earth’s by messing with its makeup a bit.  It has a solid iron core, but much like it’s planet, it also has a lot of water for a moon.  Thus, it is actually slightly less dense than its host.

Composition Percent Density Calculation Unit
Silicate Rock 70% 3.25               2.28 g/cm^3
Water Ice 12% 0.93               0.11 g/cm^3
Iron 18% 7.87               1.42 g/cm^3
Total               3.80 g/cm^3

For the record, the moon has about 70% the density of Earth, and the planet about 90%.   It’s a good sized moon, bigger than our own and possessing a higher gravity.  As the moon does have a lot of water, it will also look different in the sky.  It may even have a bit of atmosphere.

Property Calculation Unit
Mass 0.020 Earth Mass
Radius 0.300 Earth Radius
Gravity 0.222

Time to figure out the orbit of our moon.   We need the sun’s mass (1.21 solar masses) and the planet’s mass (3 earth masses) as well as the semi-major axis of the planet’s orbit (1.59 AU).  With those numbers, we can calculate the Hill Sphere and the Roche Limit.  Drop in on Artifexian if you need an explanation for those numbers.

Hill Sphere 505.72
Roche Limit 2.25

So the moon must orbit between 2.25 and 505.72 planetary radii from the planet.  I’ll also need to know the inclination and the eccentricity.   I want the orbit fairly circular, so I’m going with a low eccentricity.  Since I also want the moon to stay near the equator, I’m going with a small incline.  Yes, boring.

Orbit 112 Earth Radius
Inclination 2 Degrees
Eccentricity 0.002
Orbital Period 40.11

However, this gives us fairly close to a nice, even, 40 day orbit.  Perhaps 40 is a superstitious number then, to this race.  I’m going to do some work on the planet’s orbit while I’m here.  I am leaving out some data because it isn’t as important and is somewhat arbitrary.

Property Calculation Value Notes
Mass 3.00 Solar Mass (in Solar Masses)
Semi-Major Axis 1.59
Eccentricity 0.03
Orbital Period 1.16 422.50 Earth days
Orbital Velocity 1.37 40.91 kilometers/second
Inclination 0.02
Axial Tilt 20.00
Tropic 20.00
Arctic 70.00

The eccentricity makes the orbit around the sun closer to the circular side, and the low axial tilt also serves to make the planet’s seasons stable.  These guys have it pretty good.

S-Type Binary Star System

A P-type binary star system has two stars that orbit close to each other, and the system orbits around that.  An S-type system, on the other hand, is two stars that orbit at some distance from each other, and thus may each have their own system.  I’m going to place such a system in my world, each with it’s own set of planets.

Unlike in the P-type system, where you calculate the stars as though they were one entity, in the S-type you treat them separately.  Thus, my results:

Primary Star Secondary Star
Property Calculation Calculation
Mass 1.21 0.75
Luminosity 1.95 0.37
Diameter 0.90 0.56
Surface Temperature 1.10 0.86
Lifetime 0.62 2.05
Distance to Barycenter 153.06 246.94
Eccentricity 0.40 0.50
Maximum Separation from Barycenter 560.00 600.00
Minimum Separation from Barycenter 240.00 200.00
System
Maximum Separation 1,160.00
Minimum Separation 440.00
Inner Limit 0.12 0.08
Outer Limit 48.40 30.00
Frost Line 6.77 2.93
Habitable Zone 1.40 0.60
Minimum Habitable Zone 1.33 0.57
Maximum Habitable Zone 1.91 0.83
Forbidden Zone Edge 146.67

The forbidden zone edge is important.  The outer limits of each system need to fall well inside the forbidden zone to prevent the stars from interfering in each other’s system.  Looks like we are good there, with stars still close enough to be significant in each other’s sky.

We can then lay out the first system like so:

Primary System Orbit In Kilometers
Orbit 1 0.17 24928024.98
Orbit 2 0.29 44122604.21
Orbit 3 0.58 86921530.29
Orbit 4 0.86 128643864.8
Habitable Planet 1.59 237991149.9
Orbit 6 2.37 354606813.4
Orbit 7 4.53 677299013.6
Biggest Gas Giant 7.38 1103997392
Orbit 9 12.32 1843675645
Orbit 10 17.87 2673329685
Orbit 11 29.49 4410993980
Orbit 12 47.18 7057590369

And the second system as:

Secondary System Orbit In Kilometers
Orbit 1 0.10 14766732.9
Orbit 2 0.14 21559430.04
Orbit 3 0.20 30614390.66
Orbit 4 0.39 59085773.97
Habitable Planet 0.72 108126966.4
Orbit 6 1.08 161109179.9
Orbit 7 1.76 262607963.2
Biggest Gas Giant 2.93 438555298.6
Orbit 9 5.39 806941749.3
Orbit 10 8.20 1226551459
Orbit 11 16.15 2416306374
Orbit 12 25.36 3793601008

This system is actually going to form the core of the worlds controlled by the dominant system race.  While humans will exist in this setting, they will not be the dominant race and will, in fact, not be native to this section of the galaxy.  The dominant race originated on the habitable planet in the primary system, and later spread through that system and into the secondary system, where they encountered the much less developed race on the habitable planet there and promptly enslaved them.

P-Type Binary Star System

One of the systems in this little section of the universe will be a binary star system.  Why?  Because it’s cool.  Do I need really need more reason than that?  However, this does affect the calculations a bit, and there are now several other factors to consider.  The two suns combine to give off more light, and also interact with each other to create gravitational fluctuations.  There will also be the cultural considerations having twin suns will mean for the inhabitants of this system.

Again, I’m using Artifexian to provide inspiration. (more…)

Creating the Universe

There is a science fiction story that has been kicking around in my head for a while.  I’ve created a rough outline, but I’d like to get some of the science part right.  Now, it’s possible none of this will actually be referenced in the book, but having it on hand helps keep me from making dumb mistakes like two planets being too close together, or a planet being outside the habitable zone, so on and so forth.  I intend to set several stories within this universe, thus it behooves me to make it as accurate as possible.  Plus, this gives me something to focus on right now and I kind of need that.

(more…)

Learning Photoshop: Day 19 – Progress report

Today is a day to throw everything together and see what we get.  I’ve done a little bit of compositing, focusing on the foreground to make three different images color match and blend together.  To do so, I used layer masks, the clone tool, and a bunch of other shit I’ve picked up from the tutorials thus far.

The background comes from some stuff I did with the space things I learned, but as you can see, I still need to work on learning about lighting and shadows.

Space-scene

Stock from deviant art –

Clouds

Jurassic Valley

Heaven is a place on earth

Castle Stock 12

And the planet is mine.