RELAUNCH: Chapter Two continues! Dan and I have each been incredibly busy with other commitments and, unfortunately, work on RELAUNCH had to take a bit of a back seat for a few weeks. Rest assured though that we haven’t forgotten about Cris, Alix and The Inspiration! In fact, even as we were both occupied by other projects we continued to find time wherever we could to keep things moving with RELAUNCH. Slow and steady wins the race, right?
For this preview we thought it might be interesting to give a peek into the writing process used for RELAUNCH (and THE ROAD GOES EVER ON). To kick things off I’ll draft a detailed document that defines the major themes, plot, places and characters. Dan and I will then email that document back and forth, asking and answering questions and otherwise discussing the story right in the body of the document instead of just via email. This way we not only further define the world but also maintain an organized record of new thoughts and ideas. These ideas don’t always make it into the final script exactly as discussed but usually yield some pretty creative results. So, without giving anything away, here’s a sneak peek at the development of…
RELAUNCH: Chapter Two
When last we left the INSPIRATION, Alix tried to reboot the whole ship – including Cris. Cris, realizing she was about to “die”, disconnected herself from the ship. Her exact fate remains unknown (to the reader). Of course, without Cris, the reboot wasn’t 100% successful and Alix initiated a recall of the ship.
We’re starting out this part of the story at an orbital space station. Here’s what I’m thinking: the physical design and shape of the INSPIRATION isn’t one that lends itself to surface take off and landing. There’s also been a lot of research that suggests it’s a whole lot easier to build and repair ships in space rather than planet-side, just completely dodging the whole gravity issue entirely.
- DG: Love it! I was thinking the same thing – that this is some sort of orbital station. Also – it would make sense that it was near or beside a planet for resources to be moved to and from the station.
- RP: Absolutely. I imagine it’s an orbital satellite station as opposed to a deep space station.
So Alix is based on the planet…
- DG: Does this need to be Earth?
- RP: Nope. I was thinking it’s not Earth. I’m intentionally not referencing Earth or any specific nation. There will be no obvious Earth “artifacts” on the ship or station (flags, etc). I’m also using a cast that is intentionally cuts across national/ethic borders. I’d much rather focus on these characters in this time and place and leave behind any other baggage that a reader might bring to if it’s obviously Earth or takes place in a specific year or place we can identify. Clean slate.
…at a Communications Station but the INSPIRATION (and other ships like it) work out of an Orbital Station – the satellite version of a municipal facility/depot. From a visual standpoint we’re talking heavy and utilitarian. It needs to be able to handle a lot of traffic from bulky work ships. It should feel about as sturdy and about as used as a truck stop.
- DG: Agreed. I’m thinking of something that is almost like a bunker – in case vessels coming in for repairs can’t stop, or are damaged – something like an aircraft carrier deck, but thinking 3-dimnesionally – armored shields can be raised in case they are coming in too fast…this would be especially true in space where there is no wind resistance, and only reactionary thrusts.
- RP: Exactly!
From a design standpoint I’d say get creative! A few notes on what I was thinking – feel free to take any of this with a grain of salt though. For the most part we’re just thinking up a cool space station design. There should be a few docking stations – simple ways that ships can attach themselves to the main station, like for supplies or some other short term stay. There should also be at least one repair bay where more damaged ships can dock to undergo more extensive repairs. There could even be pods or some sort of cargo attachments around the outside of the station, attached to the hull. I mean, why take up precious interior space, right?
- DG: I’m thinking for the orbital station it should have a central area that has gravity, something cylindrical, that rotates – creating an artificial gravity, but with a definite up and down column that branches to various bays and ports. Should some of the vessels that might be docked there be modern and some more antiquated? Sort of a mixed bag. This way we can show what some of the more advanced vessels might look like – ships that aren’t geared for androids operating them…gravity-based…some for deep space travel, others more personal – for travel within a solar system perhaps, or to and from the planet/moons.
- RP: My initial thinking was that this station is a private platform, owned by a private company, used for commercial purposes. The owners probably have a contract with the local government(s) on the planet or even multiple planets in the region but they work independent of the government. Their ships should be of similar type – even if that’s a broad range. Like trucks and tractors owned by a private construction company. Lots of variation but they’re all still tractors and trucks. I was thinking that we’d keep the purpose of the station (and thus the people on the station) focused and less all encompassing.
If it’s ever visible, the station is named TERESHKOVA with the station number 16J63. It’s not critical to the story but, for the space nerds in the crowd, Tereshkova was the first woman in space. She went up on June 16th, 1963.
- DG: Dig it!
The station is large enough to be manned by a crew of 15 people (about three times the size of the ISS).
- DG: How many ports are we thinking for ships?
- RP: Good question. I dunno. I suppose they could have a lot of different types of ships even if they’re not all active at the same time. How many do you feel like designing?