Traveller Store CotI Features New Posts Mark Forums Read Register

Go Back > Citizens of the Imperium > Random Static > Random Static

Random Static This is the forum to post in if you want to discuss non-Traveller related topics. Off-topic subjects found in other forums will usually be moved here if appropriate.

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old December 22nd, 2014, 07:17 PM
Supplement Four's Avatar
Supplement Four Supplement Four is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Houston
Posts: 9,343
Gallery : 0
Supplement Four Citizen++Supplement Four Citizen++Supplement Four Citizen++Supplement Four Citizen++
Default Aliens: Steel Egg

I started a new novel set in the Alien universe, and it's pretty damn good (at least, it starts off good--I just started it).

Aliens: Steel Egg by John Shirley

This book was published in 2007, so it came out long before Prometheus. Watching the first two films, you get the idea that the Company already knew something about the alien--that's why Nash (the synthetic) was a last minute replacement for the Nostromo's original science officer.

So, this book, Steel Egg, is supposed to be humanity's first encounter with an alien life form of any sort (and, like I said, it was published years before Prometheus).

The basic plot is that a UN vessel studying Saturn and its vicinity discovers an alien craft (that looks, basically, like a big, steel, egg) in orbit of the gas giant.

In reading the book, I thought there was some neat tech directly usable in a Traveller or 2300 game.


One thing I do like about the book is that it fleshes out the Aliens universe a bit. We learn things about the setting. I've read several Alien stories where we learn nothing more than what we already know from the films.

The Earth is still balkanized (and we know this from the second film--those are the United States Colonial Marines that are sent to LV-426), but the world is really dominated by two political power groups: The United Nations, consisting primarily of the USA, Russia, the EU, India, and the Central Confederation of Africa. The UN is opposed by the CANC--the Chinese/Asian-Nation Cooperative--a union of socialist countries lead by the People's Republic of China.

In the shadowy backgroun, though, is the largest of the multi-national conglomerates, referred to as "The Company" in the first film and by most citizens.

The main character of the story is Captain Daryl Corgan of the UNIC (United Nations Interplanetary Corps) vessel Hornblower, and he speculates that the future of the world--in the next 50 years--the real power of the entire planet will be in the hands of the Company.

My speculation: We know that "the Company" from the first movie is "Weyland-Yutani" of the second movie. I wonder if the Company unites the world by merging two mega-corps, Weyland Industries and the Yutani Corp, and this leads to the dissolution of the UN and the CANC.

Evidently, there's still a lot of turmoil on Earth (probably spreading to the colonies as well) as Corgan thinks back to his time as a soldier on leave in Baghdad (prior service, again very Traveller). And, Corgan thinks that the Company is pushing for a war between the UNIC and CANC so that the Company can profit from weapons sales.

Terran Tech.

There's some interesting tech ideas in the book--stuff that can easily be ported to a Traveller or 2300 game.

As we saw with the second movie, vehicles, including spaceships and landers, can be either remote or auto-piloted. This is not an unusual thing, but it's interesting that Captain Corgan of the Hornblower doesn't trust either enough to have a lander return by itself to the hull of the Steel Egg without a human at the stick. This is a very "Traveller" point of view--don't use a robot or automatics to do a human's job (Piloting, Gunnery).

Hopping across the solar system is accomplished using something called the Heim device, which, Shirley assures me in the intro, is a real device in development! The Heim drive bends or folds space in front of a vessel in order to allow the vessel to traveler faster than light without butting up against Einstein's calculations that the vessel's mass would become infinite. This sounds a lot like stutterwarp from 2300.

Communications, though, are still limited to the speed of light, and that's very Traveller.

One of the neatest bits of tech are the "hovers" on board the Hornblower. Whenever you need access to a workstation, you tap your wrist control, and a hovering box will pop out of its compartment and float to you, around objects, providing a keyboard and screen. When you don't need it, it will follow you, just off your right elbow. When you want to access it, you just slip it around and tap it. Once tapped, it will stay rigid in mid-air, as if it were resting on something. You've got a fully customizable control right at your finger tips.

The hovers operate by resting on a electromagnetic field and maneuver using tiny fans and steering rotors. Technology hasn't advanced enough to produce anit-gravity devices. I thought this a brilliant idea to get the same job done.

The EVA suits are also explained--at how technology has allowed them to be much easier to move around in and much less bulky than previous versions. But, the suits in the first movie look quite bulky to me--maybe they're a heavy duty suit?

These used by the Hornblower crew have helmets that are hard but, when taken off, turn soft, at least enough to be folded and carried on the utility belt.

Alien technology.

The Steel Egg is interesting. It has technology where hard metal turns to the consistency of water, folding to various shapes, then hardening. This happens when a circular portion of a bulkhead softens then has a crystal emerge from it. The boarding crew figure out that they're being scanned.

I'm only guessing here: nano-tech?

The interiors of the Steel Egg are huge--not claustrophobic like human vessels. One device the humans have managed to figure out are the diamond-flyers. Corgan calls them this because they are diamond shaped flat pieces of metal that you stand on like a skateboard. If you lean slightly in any direction, the flyer will move in that direction. There is a hand control (by breaking an invisible light beam with your hand) that controls height. It's basically a levitating unit. Captain Corgan speculates that they operate by manipulating gravitons to spin in the opposite direction.

And, lastly, for now, are the owners of the Steel Egg. This is a new alien race for the universe. They are bipedal, hair-on-shoulders, six tentacles instead of fingers, with necks never really forming into heads or faces. Eyes are in a diamond-type shape, with multiple eyes in a line, circling the "head" that never really develops into a head. There is no chin, but there is a mouth that looks remarkably human-like.

Corgan calls these people the "Giff" because it's a sound the Captain heard the alien make on the recorded hologram that he saw.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Man of Steel (No Spoilers) Supplement Four Random Static 13 June 26th, 2013 12:28 PM
Fire fusion and steel, trying again Antichrist T4 - Marc Miller's Traveller 7 October 27th, 2006 02:41 PM
fire, fusion and steel for t4? Antichrist T4 - Marc Miller's Traveller 5 October 27th, 2006 04:24 AM
TNE Fire, Fusion and Steel kafka47 Duty Free Shop 4 November 26th, 2003 11:59 AM
WTB/WTT TNE's Fire Fusion and Steel William Duty Free Shop 0 August 7th, 2003 10:23 PM

This website and its contents are copyright ©2010- Far Future Enterprises. All rights reserved. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises .
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright (c) 2010-2013, Far Future Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.