Citizens of the Imperium

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-   -   Low Berths (revised) (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=39653)

Carlobrand April 17th, 2019 10:11 PM

I don't see a steward functioning on fast drug. For that matter, I'm not entirely convinced someone can experience the world in any meaningful fashion on fast drug.

CT Book-2: "(T)he drug slows down personal metabolism at a ratio of approximately 60 to 1." Your brain is operating at 1/60th metabolism: most stimuli fail to trigger the sensory nerves they'd ordinarily trigger, and you are bordering on comatose. Nerves can't send messages at 1/60th speed; the neurochemical signal process pretty much either occurs or it doesn't.

That would kill you if it's affecting the autonomic nervous system, so let's rethink this a bit: the autonomic nervous system is functioning more or less normally, sending and receiving signals more or less normally but at a reduced rate as reduced metabolic demands in the body at large influence it. Most of the rest of the brain is functionally in coma in order to achieve the reduced overall metabolism being called for. Skeletal muscle metabolism is sharply reduced, except in the muscles responsible for respiration; these have to function enough for practical air exchange to occur, even if respiration rate is sharply reduced and breathing is shallow. Cardiac muscles are functioning more or less normally, they'd have to in order to get blood where it needs to be, but heart rate is dramatically suppressed as is blood pressure. Smooth muscles behave more or less normally. Overall the body is operating at a sharply reduced metabolic rate, but there is some variation that allows the body to do basic things like take in air and pump blood to the extremities, even if heart rate and respiration rate are dramatically reduced. We're getting a picture of a drug that consists of a blend of many drugs targeting specific cell types to achieve a balanced effect that sharply reduces metabolism while permitting key systems to function just enough to support life. In essence, a state of extreme hibernation has been artificially induced, with caloric consumption reduced to something on the order of 30-35 calories daily. About the only fast here is you'd pass out and wake up 60 days later with no memory of the intervening time. And, it is likely that whatever drugs are involved also affect microbes.

(Realistically speaking, I wouldn't expect any far future metabolism reduction trick to achieve better than about 4 or 5 days to 1, but that's neither here nor there.)

But, lets put aside the cell biology as being too gritty and detailed, take the whole thing as one of those fun sci-fi paradigms that create good stories even if they're not good science, and look just at the mechanics. Your arm is generating 1/60th its normal muscle energy: your limbs feel like they're solid lead, and lifting your arm is like lifting a 100-pound weight one-handed. You aren't moving around, regardless of whatever is happening inside your head.

Adam Dray April 18th, 2019 12:22 AM

IMTU, "low berth" is how everyone prefers to travel. It's completely safe except under severe conditions (ship damage, etc.) and there are even built-in protocols to auto-wake people in that case.

People prefer cryo travel because they get to VR-dream the entire time. They can choose to pass the time at a faster rate (make six weeks feel like a day), a slower rate (take that six-month training course in a month), at normal rate (and spend the time chatting with other passengers), or even just sleep through it.

Good VR systems offer training courses, adventures, alternate reality games, and probably some pornographic versions of those things, too. All for a fee, though most commercial travel ships include a lot of it in the base package, and charge only for premium content.

Ships prefer it this way, really. Everyone travels in cryo, if they can help it. It's more secure. It reduces life support costs. You don't have to feed them, except through a tube. They take up less space and you don't have to have a passenger exercise room and lounge and crap.

The crew spends a lot of time in VR, too, in a lighter sleep than cryo. It's just more fun to pass the time that way. Space is pretty boring most of the time. Wake me up when it's my maintenance shift, okay?

wellis April 18th, 2019 03:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Adam Dray (Post 600889)
IMTU, "low berth" is how everyone prefers to travel. It's completely safe except under severe conditions (ship damage, etc.) and there are even built-in protocols to auto-wake people in that case.

People prefer cryo travel because they get to VR-dream the entire time. They can choose to pass the time at a faster rate (make six weeks feel like a day), a slower rate (take that six-month training course in a month), at normal rate (and spend the time chatting with other passengers), or even just sleep through it.

Good VR systems offer training courses, adventures, alternate reality games, and probably some pornographic versions of those things, too. All for a fee, though most commercial travel ships include a lot of it in the base package, and charge only for premium content.

Ships prefer it this way, really. Everyone travels in cryo, if they can help it. It's more secure. It reduces life support costs. You don't have to feed them, except through a tube. They take up less space and you don't have to have a passenger exercise room and lounge and crap.

The crew spends a lot of time in VR, too, in a lighter sleep than cryo. It's just more fun to pass the time that way. Space is pretty boring most of the time. Wake me up when it's my maintenance shift, okay?

So what are the main difference in low, mid, & high passage in your setting?

And for what reasons might someone not want to do low berth?

Carlobrand April 18th, 2019 10:47 AM

IMTU, the low berth is full-on frozen sleep, no metabolism going on, no need to deliver O2 or calories or deal with waste, you'll stay that way for as long as power is delivered to the berth. It means a severely injured person isn't slowly dying, though of course reanimation could get complicated. The low berths draw power from emergency power systems - radioisotope generators - so a player could conceivably come across a derelict with low-berth passengers who've been there for decades, or the players could bail themselves out of a nasty fix by going into low berths and then find themselves waking decades in the future. It is not without risks, though those most often consist of you waking to find yourself in a hospital bed with a period of recovery ahead of you.

Quote:

Originally Posted by wellis (Post 600893)
...And for what reasons might someone not want to do low berth?

Well, if you've got the money to spend, why not enjoy the pleasures of a cruise? Good food, good entertainment, someone waiting on you, time to relax and read a novel or hob-nob with your fellow passengers, a week to acclimatize to the new gravity and the new air - it's worth the money if you have it.

JimMarn April 18th, 2019 01:24 PM

Read all the posts on this thread.

Why use bus/airline type seats ?

Wouldn't a setup like a Japanese capsule hotel work better ? The doors into each one could be vac proof. The air is filtered, there are entertainment facilities built-in. Otherwise the drug sequence remains the same.

So how much cost would that add to a ship ? And how many passengers could be carried that way ? Or this even viable ?

Condottiere April 18th, 2019 02:23 PM

Superficially, the driving forces being cost, space, safety, and boredom.

It's more a question of honouring science fiction tropes, specifically the Dumarest Saga, since I believe in most other iterations, it's a fairly safe and routine operation.

Adam Dray April 18th, 2019 02:59 PM

My setting has three modes of travel: crew, stateroom, and cryo.

Crew don't go full cryo, but spend downtime in the lounge or in VR.

Staterooms on ships are fairly rare, and are for people terrified of cryo for some reason, because ships really just prefer to ice you when you get on their ship.

Cryo is the default mode of travel. Cheap, safe, fun.

wellis April 19th, 2019 02:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Adam Dray (Post 600912)
My setting has three modes of travel: crew, stateroom, and cryo.

Crew don't go full cryo, but spend downtime in the lounge or in VR.

Staterooms on ships are fairly rare, and are for people terrified of cryo for some reason, because ships really just prefer to ice you when you get on their ship.

Cryo is the default mode of travel. Cheap, safe, fun.

Yes but what is the difference in quality classified as, and how is it shown?

What separates what a noble experiences in cryo or stateroom vs say some down-on-his-luck merchant when experiencing the same?

Is there a difference in accommodations in VR or what?

fantome April 20th, 2019 09:14 PM

>>
...And for what reasons might someone not want to do low berth?
<<
Let's see, let me turn this around in why would I not want to go into a low berth?

I'm just going aboard a ship I may have never seen land on my planet before. I'm literally putting my life in the hands of their captain, the state of their ship, their low berth equipment and their medical staff. IF I have the money, at least I don't have to rely on their cryo equipment and medical staff. Sure, it could be the equipment to resuscitate will normally work fine (and better at higher TLs), except when it doesn't and that's when you want high TL doctors quickly working upon reviving you. The starport you are going to may or may not have the facilities for revival, and in that case you have to rely on a first aider in the crew. I also may be curious to see what hyperspace looks and feels like from the inside of a ship - at least once-, or just take a seven day sabbatical on board a ship to get away from it all.

The ships in space are modeled quite a bit on the ships in sea. The crew are there to ideally have a rotating watch. To perform routine monitoring and maintenance, to take turns on the ship roster of duties. Most vessels don't have crew spare (for cost reasons if nothing else) other than to cover the essentials - allowing for necessary rest and some leisure time. It is much easier and flexible for crew when there aren't passengers getting in their way or able to report on their activities.

...And for what reasons might someone not travel on any ship including one in the Imperium?

It may or may not be safer than travelling in a plane, but there isn't an ironclad guarantee that you will reach your destination.

Happy travels.

AndyW June 17th, 2019 10:54 PM

On a small trader I always wondered how one separated the mid passengers from the high ones. I suppose the steward could prepare filet mignon for the highs and toss some kibble in front of the mids, but in a cramped ship, how do you separate out the entertainment factor. I always assumed the small tramps were limited to mid and low.

Then there is the jerk factor to consider. A week in jump, sharing a 400 sq. ft. lounge with a supreme asshole has to be taxing on the psyche. Not exactly a high passage memorable experience. Memorable perhaps...

It seems to me that travel off the mains in a small vessel is best done low, so I've typically thought that most vessels don't carry enough low berths. I also feel that a vessel should have emergency lows for crew. IMTU, I like sizing a power plant to run all systems simultaneously for the month's fuel allotment, but in some situations not all systems are run. In that case the plant can be de-rated for the decreased load. This allows for a glimmer of hope if the ship misjumps into the abyss. Thrust to a relativistic vector, charge up batteries, shut down everything but low berths and transponder SOS ping, say a prayer and take a nap...
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"Hey, these bios are in the green. There goes our salvage guys."


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