Thousand Dying Suns

Initial exploration of Caliban system.

What do you mean it's all bloody analog?!

This is the first official vlog of acting Captain Carter Hamilton-Smythe of the Venture.

We’ve made it to the Caliban system by hitch-hiking and propelling on the mega-derelict. Douglas Adams would be proud. One of the first things we did was to sort out a crew manifest of temporary assignments. The ship recognized this expediency until we could once again come under the Command Authority of the Admiralty. Thus, me as acting captain. These are tremendous shoes to fill and I will do my upmost to serve The Vessel and to represent The Dominions to the best of my ability.

We have hired a local guide named Gromes. His new salary is evidently 1000 solarian credits per month. An intriguing tidbit in of itself. This leads me to wonder, is this an alternate Empire of Man? Where is Terra? Is this the far future of what we were building? Or some sort of twisted disaster produced by the infinite mutability of the multiverse? Either way, the entire situation exudes absurdity.

On his advice we are masquerading as explorers from the Second Republic. Evidently it is not unheard of for entire clusters of lost stars to reappear now and then.

It turns out that Caliban is ruled by a combination of aristocratic satrapies and medieval style guilds who create monopolies around certain techs. Evidently they’ve lost democratic institutions here. In any event, we will endeavor to join the ‘Spacefarer’s guild’ as soon as reasonable.

As such we made for the System Capitol where we set up a line of credit were we could purchase innumerable permits, licenses, and tax fees for everything under the sun (confirming this is a human system at the very least).

We did find out that while the natives were shocked by our method of travel via Einstein-Rosenburg bridge, the authorities rapidly lost interest when they discovered Venture is not ‘jump gate’ capable.

Amusingly, the natives use a very similar method of FTL jump travel as the Venture, but their analog (!) computers simply aren’t capable of performing the required calculations. This opens up an opportunity. The native system economy seems to revolve around resource extraction (animal protein and minerals) as well as relic mining. So it is quite possible that we could hop to a nearby system and set up auto miners to produce alloys or minerals they find rare here in order to pay off of debt to the Guild and bureaucrats.

Long term we need to figure out how to make Venture gate capable (which should hopefully require only modifications. We need to do some analysis of how their keys and gates communicate, and then how the physics interact. Perhaps some packet sniffing probes are in order), and then resume fixing the Skip Drive so we can become dimensionally capable.

Outside of that make ourselves useful to the locals and not get so into hawk that the tax assessors or the local church inquisition decide to seize Venture. Reminder to the team; let’s not oversell our competency. As such, skin suits are to be covered by utility overalls when mingling. The FAB and Venture’s AI are to remain on lockdown as much as possible when the locals are about. (this also includes the Food prep area. Let’s start a chef of the week / day rotary. Last thing they need to see are FABbed pho, lamb vindaloo and such things). No need for them to get interesting ideas about the shiny bits. I would hate to have to space Gromes because he decided selling info about Venture was in his best interests.

Memo so self: FAB some pans, spatulas and other miscellany when Gromes is sleeping.

Further note: enquire with our Esotery Officer to see if he can put up ‘this is boring’ fields around certain parts of Venture.

Final note: Train Olis on Security spaces and procedures as well as making certain he has correct access to the security and anti-boarding systems.

I need an even more final notes field. Training for Arden on ship processes and capabilities ASAP.


  • Carter spends the next few days creating checklists, sending eMemos and walking everyone through various parts of the ship.

Overheard conversation tidbit between Carter and Arden; “and this is the alert status app display around the algae and water levels in the reclamation tanks. We need to make certain the human waste ratio within the tanks doesn’t exceed…..” and off they wander, Arden’s pained expression far too evident to anyone who notices.


Memo to his lordship Hamilton-Smythe, a.k.a. oh Captain our Captain:

While we could no doubt erect some mundanity fields to befuddle the senses of our poor guild representative, we would rather try bringing him into the fold, as it were. His primary motivation for joining this crew is to enjoy the fruits of our wonderful toys. And while we have no doubt that profit is one of his motivations, we believe a certain level of complicity vis a vis his reports back to his guild masters isn’t out of the question.

Put another way, we’d like to try and trust him before resorting to tricking him. If nothing else, that doesn’t seem like a workable solution in the long term. We can set up a series of controlled exposures wherein we introduce him to ship systems under the express condition that he keep things quiet. During these, we can read his thoughts and if it becomes apparent that he doesn’t plan to keep his word, we can erase his memory of the whole thing. While we prefer to trust him outright, we understand the need for caution.

Is this agreeable?


I can agree to this, with caveat that we need to be able to do a memory wipe if he turns on us for our safety. Trust, to a point.

As to mundacity fields as you call them, how about this; we enact them with exceptions, such that we can host strangers and inspection teams without fear of them running off to the Inquisition with tales of magic doodads, gravity and thinking machines at the first port of call while allowing trusted allies to see behind the proverbial curtains?

Otherwise your conditional acceptance works.


The old Thorne would not mention this, Carter, but we’re trying to be more transparent and more cooperative with you muggles. So appreciate the effort this takes.

Being completely honest, magic doesn’t happen independently of environment. Especially our magic. Doing magic to befuddle the senses of certain passengers aboard venture may have unintended consequences. Namely, it may make the ship a much weirder place than before, in unexpected ways, and that may not be reversible. Especially when one considers the already bizarre extra-dimensional events that have occurred here.

All of that to say, once I start doing semi-permanent magic aboard the ship, the ship will start to be magic, in strange and subtle ways. Since it is self aware, things could get interesting. You should also know that we very much want to do this, as being fairly intrinsically magical ourselves, making our environment reflect that is soothing and feels right.

Alright, that’s done.


“Weirdness” is perfectly acceptable. I am a physicist after all. In fact I wanted to broach the subject of magic with you at some point as it may be the key missing component that would make the Skip Drive operable with humans on board. Which, given some of your statements, is something you desire.

I’m also very concerned that installing the gate drive the locals use, with methods they employ, will permanently compromise Ventures ability to form the Einstein-Rosen bridge, rendering it unable to travel anywhere. Permanently.

As to magic; my main prerequisite is you cannot be the only individual to…. control whatever is added to Venture. We need some sort of common interface for ‘muggles’ to access what is done. Single points of failure in space are a lethal idea.

Final comment; Muggles? So you’ve read Rowling? I especially like the third series when the protagonist Hermione leads her students against Setite forces in the Shadow War. I quite enjoyed playing quidditch growing up as well.

Good books.


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