In Star Frontiers you could travel long distances between star systems but they didn't have a warp drive they would use a, make believe, property of physics. The laser pistols used tons of power and often times the PC's had to carry power back packs to power them. Space ships zipped about but they did not have artificial gravity and fancy shields. Instead they relied on acceleration and armor. It was an exciting place and full of potential.
However as most Role Playing games did it went by he wayside and was lost to mine and other players imaginations. When I came up with the character of Feildman Flix I decided I did not want to place him in a Star Wars like or even Star Trek like setting. Instead I wanted him to live in a new yet grubby universe. At first he was not even going to leave the solar system but I decided that I wanted other places and planets in his universe. However I still wanted to limitations that we see today with space travel. Thus I created a universe for him that is based on a lot of what I remembered from Star Frontiers.
The Flix stories are new for me and in many cases I am writing the chapters you see here just prior to their release. I hope you enjoy the adventures of Mr. Flix.
Feildman Flix and the Outer Worlds
Chapter – 1
The switch of lighting from normal brightness to amber was the first warning but it was instantly followed up by a warbling alert followed by the voice overlay of the system. “Warning - Approaching rift entry velocity. Please standby for zero-gravity maneuvering.” The voice would repeat again every few seconds until the engines ceased thrust. At that point the ship would become a weightless environment. Which would last for only a half an hour at most, during that time the vessel would make its final thrust alignments and fire the spark.
In the time between zero-g and the spark firing the engine gang and the flight operations staff would be busy making all the last minute preparations. Insuring that everything was safe for the maneuver and that their alignment was spot on, if they were off target they might encounter a spatial anomaly that would destroy the ship. Once the computer had double checked everything the flight crew would check it and then have the computer verify their work. Once everyone gave the green the spark would fire.
The spark was the common name for the void drive initiator. It had picked up the name from the visual feedback that was created when a void rift was opened. It was not unlike a ball of lightening that widens into a ring. Once the ring had reached the appropriate size the ship would punch through and continue its travel through void space. Some folks called it ghost space. The transit through would be handled completely by the onboard system, flight crew would have ran back-up to the system that all changed when the ghosts started to appear.
Technically speaking they were not ghosts but echoes of the past and the future. Shades of what was and what will come. To seasoned spacers they were more a distraction than a concern but to passengers and first time travelers they can be quite scary. Every ship seemed to acquire its own set of spectral travelers to accompany them through the void. Many of the crews took to naming them.
Feildman moved to the acceleration couch and secured himself in place. The restraints would hold him during the zero-g maneuvers and ensure that he was in the proper position when thrust resumed. Feildman had lost track of how man jumps like this he had made in the last year. Each and every jump took him further from his home, further from the things he knew and loved. This last jump was to one of the outer colonies. With luck he could stop here and rest for a bit, make a few credits. The rate of the alarm klaxon picked up, “ALERT – ALERT – Zero gravity maneuvering commencing.”
The background vibration pitch of the engines ceased for a moment to be replaced by a series of micro vibrations as the ship began its alignment phase. It sounded like some disco-funk drummer who had lost all sense of rhythm was pounding on the hull with his sticks. Feildman activated the entertainment system and allowed the music to drown out the sounds. It would be over soon and then the ship would start forward thrust again. As he listened he mused on the nearly depleted stack of credits he had in his possession. When he had fled he had grabbed everything the professor had on hand, it had been a small fortune, or so it seemed at the time. Now though there was barely enough left to get him a decent room for a few days when they made planetfall.
Of course at first he had not made jumps on passenger ships like this one. His first two rift jumps had been on a cargo hauler then he had hitched a ride with a scientific expedition. That had been a fun trip. After that he had continued to move but more publicly using an assumed identity, one of the students on that trip had showed him how to create it. Two stops later he had manipulated his identity again and again at the next stop. Most of the credits had gone into making the multiple identities.
The drummer was now attempting to find a way to a rhythm in ever shortening bursts. The alignment thrusts were so small that only the vibration of the engines gave away the work that the system was doing. The alert tone changed “WARNING – WARNING Rift entry initiated.” Through the small external porthole that his luxury cabin afforded him Feildman saw the purple static spark of the rift entry point as the ship slid past it building velocity and adding weight to his body. The light show was short and soon only the vague flickering light of rift space could be seen.
The alert alarm ceased and the system voice announced “Now traveling in void space you are free to move about the vessel.” Feildman disconnected the straps and rose to his feet, ships gravity was approaching shipboard standard. According to the ships itinerary they would be in the rift for approximately fourteen days. They would travel approximately fourteen light years before exiting to normal space.
Grabbing his coat Feildman exited his cabin and headed toward the main salon for passengers. Perhaps he would play a game with one of the others or have a meal. He was partial to the duck. As he entered the room one of the staff approached him. “Dr. Rynolds, Lady Chamberlain has requested your presence at her table for dinner this evening.”