The Tramp: A First Look

Day 31. 78 pages, 34,917 words.

I wasted a bit of time and effort a few days back, making a series of maps. They’re mostly still blank and they’re done scrappily in MS Paint rather than a nice vector graphics tool like I’d prefer, and there’s no real design or architectural planning going into them… but I couldn’t really bring myself to use my work resources to draw these, and dang if those vector tools aren’t expensive.

So, crummy hand-drawn maps it is.

What is it? Well, say hello to Astro Tramp 400. To celebrate getting one month into the writing process, at a staggering 78 pages and 34,917 words (and going strong), here’s a sneak peek.

Deck maps of Astro Tramp 400.

Work in progress.

Yes, Astro Tramp 400 the starship, slowly taking shape as the book I’m assembling around her gradually grows. The story itself has changed a bit from my original joke – it’s no longer a Galaxy Quest-esque story about people from here-and-now being placed in a sci-fi setting. It’s more of a straight-up sci-fi story.

The characters may still resemble their inspirations, however.

Here’s a couple of notes about the ship.

The look: As you can see from the cross-section, the Tramp is your basic flying saucer. She’s got fourteen decks and two domes. A decent size, but in the lower range of the fleet’s engineering capabilities.

The size: I’m not sure yet what the actual area is, here. The levels could be any height at all, really, and the floor thicknesses … none of it is to scale. Let’s say this: the USS Enterprise was about 700 metres long, and the Tramp is quite a bit smaller than that. Probably only 300 or 400 metres. Don’t know yet.

Torus 1, 2: Pair of big rings all the way around the ‘tropics’ of the saucer, housing the, let’s call it hyperdrive for now. The relative field is what enables the jump to LUDICROUS SPEED.

‘Ponics: I guess this is hydroponic or something similar to the airponics referenced in Star Trek, basically a series of greenhouses for food and maybe even filtration. The plants would be high-efficiency and probably genetically modified for their purposes.

Printers: I’m aiming at something in the ballpark of 3D printing from raw materials or on a molecular level, but it’s a slightly different science (more advanced, obviously, and with a range of applications that are nevertheless limited so you can’t just ‘print’ whatever you need), just a similar premise. I’m going with ‘printer’ rather than Star Trek’s ‘replicator’, but the concept should be fairly familiar. It’s actually bizarrely exciting that this is a whole new technological Thing that didn’t even really exist the last time I wrote pure sci-fi. We’re one step closer, people.

The exchange: This is a special twist I just came up with the other morning. Basically it means that the ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ hemispheres of the Tramp are pretty much arbitrary (well, it’s space), because the artificial gravity pulls towards this plane. The exchange is therefore a transition level with variable or zero gravity, depending on the machinery that is generating the pull. Essentially you descend from the one dome until you reach the exchange and then you ascend into the other dome. This is not so much a plot point at the moment, just a detail. It also means the ship can flip over and basically fly at any angle, which – well, it’s space.

To be continued.

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3 Responses to The Tramp: A First Look

  1. Laurence says:

    You might want to try Inkscape if you want a free vector image program. It’s pretty good!

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