Thursday, October 17, 2013

"New World" Space Fantasy

I am mixing a bit of sci-fi into the (somewhat cliche) discovery/founding of a fantasy world, but I can't decide on where exactly it should be in relation to us.

I'm tinkering with the idea of placing it "locally" in either the Perseus or Sagittarius Arm of the Milky Way galaxy.

Or perhaps making it much more far flung and positioning it in the Andromeda Galaxy

The premise is that in a not-so-far future we have found other habitable areas, aka "Goldilocks zones", which aren't too far speculatively from where we are now. But geographically they are a long shot in that we know they are there and have Earth-like planets, but that's the extent of our knowledge. So we decide to fire massive colonization ships to each of these areas in an attempt to settle more space and form a cliche federation or empire of worlds. But something goes terribly wrong.

A ship named the Adventus - derived from Latin meaning "arrival, or coming to" - is sent through a wormhole/jump gate on a mission to colonize the zone. Upon coming out of the jump, the ship is struck by a wandering comet that was impossible to detect on previous scans. If I go with the jump gate arrival, the gate is destroyed with the ship. If I go with the wormhole idea, I would have to assume the too-convenient, spontaneous collapse of the naturally occurring wormhole. Or I might combine the two ideas and say that the technology is available for the ships to create the wormholes (essentially hyperspace jumping) but when the ship is lost, so is the "beacon" or black box that would indicate what the hell happened, thus failing to signal for rescue from other colony ships. 

Another idea is that no beacons are expected to be sent until a world is colonized, meaning that no one is going to come looking for any "lost colonies" that don't report back. That seems like a stretch in that given the amount of planning and resources and sheer number of committed lives, I would think someone would be keeping tabs on a blinking radar screen.
However I settle the conundrum, the ship is lost and no one is riding to the rescue. No John Rolfs in space, I suppose.

Because it was designed as a colonization ship, all of the materials and foodstuffs needed to begin a new life were already loaded. All of the colonists were in cryo-sleep in various pods of 40-50. The skeleton crew of the ship were all killed and the black box that recorded the impact/wreck was lost. The emergency evacuation override of the ship was to target the nearest habitable planet and launch as many cryo-pods and cargo containers as possible to maximize the likelihood of survival.

Coming out of cryo-sleep is disorienting even in idea conditions. Given the emergency launch and the fact that no crew or records survived, all the passengers can recall is that they were sent "from the stars" to live on a new world. Other than a handful of supply containers, all else is lost.

The only surviving pods land thousands of miles apart on 2 of 5 continents because they were the ones facing the ship at the time. They don't even know if any other pods made the landing. These pockets of humanity have no idea that anyone else is on the world with them. But on this planet, the "standard" fantasy races of elves, dwarves, and gnomes (along with monstrous races) already exist.

Elves call the world Epheria or Epherius (from ephemeral - dream like)

Dwarves call the world Khorden (core den) or Khoruden - the runes are called Khoru (runes of the core)

Humans call the world Aventus, because that's as close as they can recall the name of the ship that jettisoned the pods to the planet.

The monstrous, savage races hail from a continent that is named Velusum (from lusus naturae "freak of nature") 

**Several other mythology based names I like for other ships (or possible jump gates) are:
Hyperion - which may end up being a name of a world
Icarus - another doomed ship that crashed into a sun/star.
Prometheus - one of the first successful colony ships
Delos or Delphos - derived from Delphi
Atheum - derived from Athens
Sparatus - derived from Sparta and Spartacus 
Hermeus or Hermean - a Mercury-like "dead world" named after Hermes (aka Mercury)
Aquilon - vaguely Latin for "north"
Meridium - vaguely Latin for "south"
Atlas - this would be a great classification for a heavy, carrier ship. Perhaps it's not a warship, but a resupply/support ship that brings additional cargo to established worlds. 

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