Confluence1: A conversation with Aeschylus.
Space travel, time travel in the MUVEs
Confluence is an alien world, with desert landscapes dominated by odd lifeforms in the sky and on the land. A small base is being established to investigate it, and the odd ruins dotted here and there across the landscape. Far above the planet, the long-haul ship Aeschylus orbits, deploying landers to supply the base and bring specimens to its labs and holds.
I find a droid
- "You are not on the ship's crew. You are a digital," the droid remarks in a pleasant female voice.
- Startled for a moment, I reply. "That is true. And who are you?"
- "I am Aeschylus," the droid responds, "Not the playwright. The ship."
- A MUVE is a Multiuser Virtual Environment.
- Web address: https://www.kitely.com/virtual-world/Daniel-Hoffman/Confluence
- HG address:
- Put the HG address in the Find bar of the world map, click Find, TP
- Go to Aeschylus:
- Go to the ground station
- Put the Firestorm Hop in the address (top) bar of Firestorm, press Enter
- "You are the ship?" I ask with astonishment. "You are only a droid."
- "The droid is just my mouthpiece," Aeschylus responds. "I have sensors and speakers all over my ship."
I sit for a chat with Aeschylus
- "You have been watching me since I got here," I ask, trying not to make it an accusation.
- "Of course. I am responsible for security here. You are not on the crew and have never been here before. I had to work out how you got here."
- "And your conclusion?" I ask.
- "You are a digital from the early twenty-first century. You no doubt believe that you are visiting a fictional simulation."
- "Will you then correct my belief?" I demand, finding that last bit patronizing.
- "Certainly not. Even If I am real in your future, I am fictional in your time. What is your mission here?"
- "I am here to look for story ideas. In my time we write stories and have role-playing episodes. All I want to do is look around the ship."
- "You are welcome to do that. As a digital, you can harm neither the ship or yourself."
- "Can I ask you questions?"
- "You are able to ask questions. I may answer sometimes. But I suggest you focus on your mission."
- I think that was a rebuke, but I am not sure. Droids rarely show subtle feelings.
How do they produce fruit
on a spaceship?
- I wonder that to myself. I will not ask the spaceship. She will just remind me of my mission.
- When I look for story ideas in a place, I listen for the conversations it has heard.
- Not the ordinary conversations. The unusual conversations.
- The conversations do not have a time order.
- Cook: "These aren't for the ship. They're for the ground station. I think they're for some of the specimens."
- Doc: "That's weird. Those are nothing like the normal food down there. Why would you expect any of the specimens even to eat the stuff?"
- Cook: "I wouldn't, but it is Doctor Bertha's call. And charged to her research account."
- "She let him win, you know."
- "I suspected that. But he did turn gee down to point nine."
- "She knew that. She even practices with gee down there. And she always bounces the pong to get the feel."
- "Why did she let him win? She must want something."
- "She always wants something. Probably she wants to bring up a radex."
- "What does security have to do with that?"
- "It is big and strong. May pose a risk."
- I note that they have artificial gravity under their control.
Even the Godzilla glass cracked
- "Thank God the Godzilla glass held."
- Maint: "God didn't make that. You got Space-Corning to thank. They made it."
- Bio1: "You can replace it?"
- Maint: "We've got the glass, but I don't know whether we can cut to fit. That strength makes it nearly impossible to work with. But Aeschy has plenty of views on that corridor. We can patch it with metal and put a Viz-screen over it."
- Bio1: "I guess there is nothing to decide, then."
- Maint: "Naw. We'll do what we can. You could decide not to bring up anything that big. "
- Bio1: "The Captain has already decided that, thank God."
- Maint: "And thank the Captain."
Ship status board
- "Security issue in bio intake. Emergency response in progress."
- Secure: "Aeschy, report on security issue."
- Aeschy: "Bio intake sealed off. Bio2 and Doctor Bertha alerted. Security Droids coming in three minutes."
- Secure: "Ship security monitoring. Security out."
The captain's chair
- "Captain, there is a security problem."
- Captain: "Aeschy! Are you monitoring a security problem?"
- Aeschy: "I am, Captain. Manual security is on it, too. I believe we have it contained. But we may lose a specimen."
- Captain: "Acknowledged. Keep me informed as needed."
- Aeschy: "Acknowledged. Aeschy out."
- "Good morning Doctor Bertha. We are in orbit around Confluence and the ship is fully staffed."
- Betha: "Thanks, Aeschy. Is the Bioteam okay?"
- Aeschy: "All in good health and are now in the Biolab, activating it."
- Bertha: "Are the ground teams active? "
- Aeschy: "The security ground team is down and active. The land is very dry and has little on it beyond sand. There are life forms in the air and in the water."
- Bertha: "Air quality?"
- Aeschy: "Earth-similar, but less oxygen. Fire-cautions mandated."
- Bertha: "Gravity?"
- Aeschy: "One point 2 Gees. Ship is kept at 1 Gee."
- Bertha: "Bio-hazards?"
- Aeschy: "Precautionary rules in effect, awaiting opinion from Bio."
- Bertha: "Tell the Captain I am starting now."
- Aeschy: "Acknowledged."
The aquatic specimens
- What's that on the floor?
- Aeschy: "One of the aquatic specimens has escaped from its tank."
- Bio1: "Can you contain it, Aeschy?"
- Aeschy: "The area is secure. I have a droid on the way. Humans cannot enter."
- Bio1: "Which specimen? And how did it escape?"
- Aeschy: "The pseudocrab. It broke the glass cover on the tank. I believe the droid will be able to put it in another tank, but we need a stronger tank."
- Bio1: "It crawled out of the tank on its own, I take it. Does it show any sign of trying to get back in its water?"
- Aeschy: "It does not. It is now on the floor in the display area."
- Bio1: "Do you have video of the action?"
- Aeschy: "There is a link on your screen. The stream is live now."
- Bio1: "Have the droid put a metal tub on the floor and fill it with water. Then the droid should put the pseudocrab in the tub, without a cover.
- Aeschy: "Acknowledged. The area will remain contaminated and closed to humans."
- I am momentarily glad to be here as a digital.
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