The Calling Port
|Base Hull||A ’waved 1967 Volvo P1800S sport coupe, random space junk, parts of a few abandoned fen stations, a few very small asteroid chunks, two decommissioned diesel submarines (one Russian, one Norwegian), and random bits and pieces from a moderately-sized vehicular junkyard|
|Drive Type||Reactionless thrusters|
|Drive Rating||Max velocity 0.01c|
|Flag of Record||n/a|
|Registry Number||Multiple and varied|
|Purpose||Self-sufficient, one-person mobile research laboratory, data archival system, hermitage, party venue, and proof-of-concept model|
|Primary Crew||Allen James|
(Created by Bluemage)
Originally the result of ’waving the old Volvo given to Allen James by his parents decades ago, the Calling Port came about in its present form because of an interesting coincidence: its maiden voyage off Earth, astounding as the odds are, intersected with a large collection of space junk. Surprisingly, when the inevitable collision occurred, it didn’t just bounce off his windshield - it stuck to the car. Mr. James noticed this, but couldn’t think of anything to do about it - he started to explore.
After a while, he found a small Fen space station, which seemed to be mysteriously abandoned. As he tried to leave, he found that, like the junk, the station had become attached to his car - he couldn’t separate the two. After much work, the station was operational again: he had to rebuild almost every system on board, since the old ones wouldn’t work for him for some strange reason. Now mobile, Allen fired up the station’s drives, and went on a tour of the solar system. A couple of small asteroids joined the Port during his trip through the Belt, which were hollowed out and tied into the station proper. Over the next few months, the station collected every bit of space junk, junkyard junk (when he could get to Earth), and weird stuff possible.
Once he decided to spend his life collecting knowledge, Mr. James realized that his station wasn’t equipped for performing some of the more volatile experiments. He devised a system of remote laboratory stations, which could be deployed from his station... if he had something to launch them from. The first thing that came to mind were torpedo launchers, so he snuck back into Earth orbit, raided a few naval yards for decommissioned vehicles, and flew off with a decommissioned Russian diesel and a mothballed Norwegian sub. More remodeling followed, and the torpedo launchers now serve as probe/satellite/missile deployment systems.
Bits of the original frame can still be seen - the submarines are clearly visible, and the front of the Volvo serves as the “prow” of the monstrosity. Every so often, a few feet of unburied aircraft hull or bus roofing comes into view, and the ends of junked cars poke out in odd places.
Known Vehicle Quirks
- It’s tech, but not as we know it: While the wavetech on board serves much the same purposes as that possessed by other fen, it generally does so in truly bizarre ways. The engine systems operate by moving stellar bodies (the Nonconformity Drive pushes other objects away from the station, while the Stellar Attractor pulls stars closer to it), instead of the ship itself.
- How do you work this thing?: To compound the quirkiness of the station, all its backward systems are controlled in backward ways, and built in strange ways. An access panel might be made up of thousands of (useless) wires, while the systems below it operate using strips of colored battleship armor. Engines can be targeted on specific destinations through the defensive systems console, while Navigation has a mode that sets missile flight paths. The reactor flush control is located in the master bathroom, and the security doors operate off of tongueprint identification sensors. Some controls are labeled incorrectly, some are labeled in Polish, Arabic, Esperanto, Russian, Norwegian, hieroglyphics, or some combination of the above, and many have no labels. Other controls do nothing at all, and the master horizontal rotation control is a potted ficus tree next to the primary Jolt reservoir.
- Pseudo-non-Euclidian: The internal geography of the station makes little sense. It can take ten minutes to walk to a destination five feet away, and the route taken changes every few weeks. A guest might find one primary bridge console, and finally locate the rest of them after three hours, having completely forgotten where his quarters were in the meantime. Mr. James, who knows where all the secret passages are, could do it in three minutes.
- He owns the Internet: A surprising fraction of the inner station is made up of wavetech data storage. In it, Mr. James keeps every scrap of information that he ever encounters. Currently, he has the entire Internet, random info about every Faction out there, three gigabytes of recipes, 1/34th of a definitive Encyclopedia of Humankind (his idea and life’s hobby), and enough porn to satisfy the male population of the Pac-10 for 160 years, without repeating a single file, among other things. With this much information, it’d be impossible to memorize all of it - no one person could even memorize the table of contents. Allen doesn’t have a clue about a lot of things, but has more knowledge at his fingertips than any fifteen nations do, if he can ever find all of it.
- Sticky: Things stick to the Calling Port. Most inhabited stations have warned Mr. Janes to avoid docking with them; at least one has threatened him with violence if the Calling Port approaches within 10,000 km.
Variable, depending on where Mr. James last visited, which junkyard he last raided, and what his last “great idea” was. Standard support vehicles and devices include:
- Remote Laboratory: Allen routinely conducts experiments too dangerous to oversee in person. Instead of endangering himself and his station, he deploys these- single-purpose research satellites, equipped to perform dangerous experiments under remote control.
- Data Dump Trucks: Essentially knowledge delivery systems, a DDT is a missile retrofitted with an AI and as much wavetech memory as possible (or desired). The idea is that, once the missile crashes or is retrieved, the information stored inside is available for their use. These are often used by Allen to deliver purchased information to passing fen, or used under contract for the orbital distribution of propaganda and subversive information.
- Runabouts: Conglomerations of junk redesigned as small, semi-independent shuttles, these are literally parts of Allen’s ship. Each one generally has one major system (part of the full station’s engine, weapon, or computer complement), one heavily armored section (the current outer hull of the station), living quarters for one, and enough added gadgetry to serve as a basic shuttle. There are usually six pilotable runabouts at any one time, constant refits permitting, and about 2d8 that can be run by remote control.