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52 Weeks (or, how boring is JumpSpace?)

Spinward Scout

SOC-14 5K
Hey Everybody,

I was at the Hobby Shop yesterday and saw a comic called "52 Weeks". I think it was a Marvel Comic. Anyway, I started to think about writing a campaign that takes place over the span of one year. Then I thought, well, about half of that time could be spent in JumpSpace.

26 weeks. About 180 days...

What would you do during those 26 weeks? Preventative maintenance would be a good job for an Engineer, but what else would everyone do? Playing chess with the Ship's Computer would get old after the first couple of losses. Reading local news, updates to Library Data, and the odd HoloVid or two would take up some more time, but...

What else is there?

Has this been covered before?
Thanks, but I don't have a subscription.

Ok, here's an example of a Scout/Courier in JumpSpace:

Captain's Log
0741 hours
The Nova Millenia has made Jump Entry at 0736 hours and sensors show a stable Jump Bubble. Locking down Thrusters and Communications.

"Computer, pull up News and Messages."

0918 hours
"The Deneb Rockets lost again?!? Yawn! Computer, how about a game of Reginan-rules Palaxi Squares?"

1053 hours
"hmmmm... Hey Computer, did we get the latest Captain Meteor! Episodes?"

1206 hours
Jumps up
"That was awesome! Now for lunch!"

1233 hours
"Mmmmm, just like Mom made... NOT! Ok, Computer, let's run a diagnostic on the Maneuvering Thrustes."

1302 hours
"well, that's done."

Ok, the point is, I was bored out of my skull when I was unemployed and that was with being able to go to the Mall, the Bookstore, the Library, and the Hobby Shop, as well as looking for work. Our Lone, Intrepid, Scout is on his own. If there are passengers, that's a lot different.

Granted, he could have just about every book and movie ever written on his homeworld able to be called up at a moment's notice, but...

Stardate 121-1111
0829 hours
"Oatmeal again?!?"

0923 hours
"Alright Computer, I'm ready this time. Run the Scenario through again. The Space Pirates come through the airlock and Pow! Pow! Pow! Did I survive this time?"
Computer: "Negative - crew terminated"

1048 hours
"Computer, log cargo container is STILL in it's proper place and stable condition."

1159 hours
"Ok, I can beat my last time for getting my Vacc Suit on. Computer, start the timer..."

1419 hours
Pouring tea
"Computer, make sure sugar is on the supply shopping list."

1828 hours
"Flakma Soup! Yum!"

2216 hours
"Good night, Computer."

That's just Day 2. Just think if you did this every other week.

26 weeks...

180 days...

X-Boat drivers must be in hell.
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In the last campaign I ran, the characters bought 2 holo-simulators (just fits in a standard stateroom with the furnishings removed), and instructional programs for them, and installed one in each of their ships.

They then spent much of their off-duty in-jump time training with their weapons, running through equipment-failure & repair scenarios, studying for navigation & piloting certifications, etc.

This was in addition to lifting weights, treadmill work, and unarmed combat practice (all in the spare stateroom with the grav system turned up), etc.

In other words, skill improvement work, like the LBB allows you to do.

Of course, their merc contract with NavInt allowed them to turn a profit without carrying passengers (unless cleared by a local NavInt contact).
Those are great ideas! And that holo-simulator could be put into the lounge if there are passengers.

I think I might be looking for too much detail here...
I liked what H. Beam Piper & a few other authors handled the boredom-hobbies. For my diplomat/scout it would probably be the study of alien races & culture. My wife's corsair captain turns one of the holds into an exercise room where she dances around with two fans deflected laser blasts from drones.
In the navy, I was on a Trident submarine. 3 months strait with no contact other than the same 150 jerks.

Getting a break every other week seems leisurely by comparison.
My bro was on an old boomer (Alexander Hamilton) and said much the same. I thought Tridents went out for 6?
And if you get stuck in Jump Space you'll go crazy and try to kill your crewmates...

Believe it or not, everything points to smaller crews being more problematic. With 150 people aboard, a boomer has people you don't see every day (due to watch and sleep schedules) and yet is small enough to have a single group identity. Literally a medieval village's typical compliment.

You really start hearing obnoxious things when crews get under about 30 people for weeks on end. You either get along, or you go crazy. The native peoples of Alaska provide excellent answers for how to handle isolation and small groups for extended times: keep busy on the important tasks, and when not busy, share the cultural myths in song, dance, and story; recently, christian prayer has been added to the mix (last 150 years, nearly uniform in the last 50).

There are basically 5 regimes in which social dynamics operate, from what I've read:
partnership: 2 people
small group: 3-10 people
troup/large group: 8-30 people
Tribe/Village: 20-200 people
Supergroup: 100+

Interactions in small groups are the trickiest, as they are small enough that all can interact simultaneously. They can be extremely chaotic. Ironically, they are also the normative size of both RPG groups and PC scale ships.

Large groups generally develop a clear leader, and everyone has a place in the social order. This is the typical size of the larger PC ships. They tend to be somewhat predictable. Interpersonal relationships peer-to-peer are less important that relationships with the Alpha/Beta leaders.

Tribe/Village level groups tend to be the largest in which people are still directly interacting with the Alphas... but also tend to have smaller groups (bands, extended families, platoons...) comprising them.

Above the tribe/village, the indentity is almost always to a smaller subgroup, with strong reinforcement needed to maintain a group identity. (Hence, scholastic sports.)

For ship crews, the volatile range of the small group gives NASA fits...
Maybe they become gamers.

Imagine 180 days of uninterrupted free time to indulge in RPG with no real-life constraints and no guilt trips about what you ought to be doing instead.

Originally posted by Icosahedron:
Maybe they become gamers.

Just like Liz Danforth's illustration in the Megatraveller Ref's book. I guess they're roleplaying being college students and office workers in a TL7 industrial society :D
"Maybe they become gamers.

Imagine 180 days of uninterrupted free time to indulge in RPG with no real-life constraints and no guilt trips about what you ought to be doing instead.


That's what we did on my "luxury cruise" aboard the USN aircraft carrier Ranger in 1986 & 1987. (2 2-month trips from San Diego, CA to Korea and 1 6-month trip to the Indian Ocean/Arabian Sea in an 18-month period.)
Very interesting. I figure everything would revolve around eating and sleep schedules. But Mark Twain's comment always keeps coming back to me: "Familiarity breeds contempt... and children" I think the Brits were doing a study about sex in space. But this might fall under more of a Political Pulpit topic?

Hey BlackBat, did you do a PacEx? My brother was on the Carl Vinson - I think that was the same Battle Group.
Norpac '86 (Korea, Vancouver B.C [closing of the World Expo there].) Oct-Nov

Norpac '87 (Korea, Japan [replaced Midway in exercises due to defects introduced during refit]) March-April

Westpac '87 (Indian Ocean/Arabian Sea [air cover for tanker convoys Sept-Nov, Battle Group Echo with BB-63 Missouri]) July-Dec

We never operated directly with another CV, just met one a couple of times while heading in opposite directions (CV-64 Constellation in '86 & CV-41 Midway in late '87).
Originally posted by The Traveller Formerly Known As...:
That's just Day 2. Just think if you did this every other week.

26 weeks...

180 days...

X-Boat drivers must be in hell.
...or heaven, depending upon one's attitude. Many of us prefer the solitude. I was able to complete two college degrees via e-correspondence course whilst in jumpspace, and am currently at work on my doctoral thesis. When I joined the Scouts, my education was (shall we say) limited. My grades were "good enough", but the seclusion and all that available time allowed me to really concentrate on my studies, with minimal distraction.

In my experience, bored people are boring people, so I strive to insure that I have plenty of varied interests which may provide a pleasant pastime. During jump, I cultivate my hobbies and pursue new ones. Believe me, they have little to do with contact and exploration, surveying or communications... who wants to spend all that free time doing more work?!

Don't get me wrong; Scout life is not for everyone. There are plenty of people to whom the life of a jump pilot just does not appeal. It can sometimes be hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. I can only speak from my own experience when I say that I've always found jumptime to be relaxing, a good opportunity to read, write, recreate and sometimes to just think.
Absolute agreement. If you have any hobbies you can't seem to find time for, Scout life might be for you. These need to be hobbies you can pursue while cooped up in a space that would be considered too small for a jail cell, but there you go. I'm into writing, art, programming, photography and hiking. The photography can get a little monotonous on-ship, and hiking pretty much has to be a planetside activity, but the rest of it is great. Aaand... you get to hike and take photos on dozens of new worlds.

b.t.w. While I love hiking, I will never do it on a vac-world, ever again. Telepresence jaunts are just as thrilling, and you don't die if something goes wrong. Bloody Kelso Downs!
I guess I went off on a tangent I wasn't intending. I was thinking about making a one year campaign and then didn't look at the big picture. If I were to do the campaign, I guess it would be a shipful of people. A Scout/Courier, yes, but crewed, plus occasional passengers, but then I looked at it from a one-person point of view. Sorry about that. I do appreciate all of the input - and it's great! Time for me to get to work on some ideas. (start small, start small...)

On a personal note:
I always forget to go hiking. It's something I love to do, but I guess I never seem to get around to it anymore. Canoeing...

BlackBat: did you pull into Yokosuka in Japan? I was stationed NAF Atsugi and the Midway's squadrons came up to our base when they were in port.

The Midway's refit: did you know she holds the record for the biggest list of an aircraft carrier in a storm? Something about how the ballast was screwed up or something. She's been decommisioned now.
No, Sasebo.

Midway is now a museum in San Diego, Ca.

I also spent 6 months (less 2 months at NAS Cubi Pt., P.I.) at MCAS Iwakuni in May-Oct. 1984, on a land deployment with VMA(AW)-242... the "Black Bats".

I was on Ranger with VMA(AW)-121 "Green Knights".