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Monthly Archives: April 2014

This will surely not surprise those of you who already know me, but I have an awful habit. Odds are, if you tell me about something new, I’ll probably race off to research it once we finish speaking. With the surplus of information available, and the ease of access, I simply cannot understand why other people aren’t as fanatical as myself when it comes to learning.

Anywho! My friend RubyBastille kindly mentioned me in her recent Liebster Award post. As a matter of course, I subsequently started my research on the subject.

Liebster Award

It turns out that the Liebster isn’t an ‘award’ per se; frankly, it is much more like a chain-letter. The award serves to inherently draw attention and readers to blogs, and can only be ‘awarded’ to a blogger by another blogger. ‘Liebster’ has an assortment of nice definitions in German, which goes right along with its purpose of writers ‘paying it forward’ to their burgeoning compatriots.

Apparently, the rules of this blog-meme vary in each iteration. The important facets, from what I’ve gathered, are that only blogs with fewer than a certain number of readers are eligible, a nominated blog must link back to the nominator and answer his or her questions, and subsequently nominate and question a number of blogs in turn. As I’m a rather recent returner to the blogging scene, I simply don’t have that many blogs to Liebster-ize, but I’ll try.

  • God. Life. Games. – I love games. I love thinking critically. I love looking into things more than is probably necessary. This said, I stand in Tyler’s shadow when it comes to knowledge of gaming culture. He is one of the rare few that can make you feel good about being a gamer, and his arguments may even convince me that modern console gaming might not be a lost cause.
  • Ruby Bastille – Perhaps I’m breaking the rules by counter-nominating my own nominator, but Laura’s blog is great, and I recommend you read it. She will (inadvertently, I’m sure) make you feel guilty for not reading enough, not knowing enough about the tea you drink, and not advocating modern feminism as much as you should. And you should read more, drink more tea, and understand feminism.
  • Our 2 little Men – Though I’m not a fan of kids in general, Mark and Sean are probably my best examples of what children could and should be. Not only are these guys Star Wars and Lego nerds and absolutely hilarious, they are also some of the smartest little guys I’ve met. Kudos to the Bradley parents — I look forward to more adventures of Kid Bumblebee.
  • Dandelion Dreams Permaculture – I had to look up ‘Permaculture’ when linked to this blog. Nick and Julia’s blog makes the outdoors seem interesting (which I was almost certain wasn’t the case), and they provide great stories of practical and natural living.
  • The Gethsemane Blog – Travis and I disagree on a few things. He thinks we should colonize the oceans, when everyone else knows that we need to focus on space and terraforming instead. That said, we agree on almost everything else. He’s the best spokesman for non-violence I know, and he has a knack for explaining theological terms and concepts without using church-lingo or big words like ‘theological.’

Now for the questions!

  • It’s game night! What do you want to play?

Let’s play Smallworld! Too many people? How about Bang!?

  • What’s the best book you read in the last year?

Probably “The Wisest Things Ever Said About Chess” by Andrew Soltis. I find most chess strategy books intimidating, but Soltis gets into advanced play using a system of clever aphorisms. For example, “Modern Chess is much too concerned with things like pawn structure. Forget it. Checkmate ends the game.”

  • The book you’re reading currently is terrible/boring/not what you expected. Do you quit reading, or do you force yourself through it?

I will try to find someone I know that has read it and talk to them about it. Did they ever get hung up while reading, and if so, when? What helped them pick it back up? Did they turn away from the book for something else, and if so, what was it?

  • You have the opportunity to do any extreme sport, whether or not you actually know how to do it, with very little risk of serious injury. What would you do?

Probably trick shooting. That or spelunking/ice caving.

  • What movie have you seen so many times that you basically have it memorized?

I’ll assume this question excludes Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. I’m pretty sure I could narrate Napoleon Dynamite with the sound off, but not on account of watching it too many times. It was just incredibly memorable. Let’s go with Mystery Men.

  • What book or movie coming out in 2014 are you most looking forward to?

Hmm. Dumb and Dumber To, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Interstellar, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again all seem interesting. I’m probably most excited about the Hobbit, as even if it is a very different story and presentation than Tolkien’s original, I am still quite happy that his work continues to entertain even in later generations. Plus, who can say no to more Sherlock dragon?!

  • Do you like science fiction? (Hope so!) What’s your favorite book/TV show/movie?

Why, yes! “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and “Star Wars: Them Empire Strikes Back.”

  • Do you watch the news?

Absolutely not. I reddit. Is that close enough?

  • What talent or ability are you most proud of?

I’d like to think I’m a great world-builder. For some reason or another, when I’m imagining a fictitious scenario, details of all sorts seem to fall into place. I thoroughly enjoy discussing the intricacies of made-up universes, pantheons, physics models, maps and societies.

  • You get to use a time machine to go back in time and meet three different people and do only three things: punch someone, hug someone, and have a drink with someone. Who would you punch, who would you hug, and who would you have a drink with?

Must I punch? It would seriously clash with my choice to have a drink (tea, of course) with Gandhi if I had to know I warped through space-time to injure someone. Oh! I’d like to try to punch Bruce Lee, knowing he could make a funny noise, dodge it, then say something profound about water. As for a hug? I’d go to Alexandria and give Hypatia a hug while I apologized for the atrocities she’d have to weather in the name of science.

Alright; on to my questions for other bloggers.

  • Which do you think would win in a fight: a Siberian Tiger, or a Silverback Gorilla?
  • If you could have the power of Telepathy, Telekinesis, or Teleportation, which would you choose?
  • Who are your favorite and least favorite Star Wars characters? Briefly, why?
  • If I had twenty dollars for the two of us to get a meal anywhere you’ve been before, where would we eat?
  • If you were offered immortality, would you accept it?
  • If you had a time machine that could only travel forward in time, would you use it? If so, how far would you go, and who would you take with you? (Up to three others; you can pick up people along the way if you like.)
  • What would you consider the most interesting thing you have ever learned?
  • If you could have a telephone conversation with anyone who has ever existed, who would you call?
  • Have you ever been camping? Where is your favorite place to camp/be outdoors at night?
  • If you had to fight a horse-sized duck or ten duck-sized horses, which would you choose?

 

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I have a hard time with creativity and art. Yes, I know writing is art, and that I’m creative with the goofy fictions and role-playing I write, but hear me out.

I’ve always wanted to be able to draw cartoons or comics. Those who knew me during high school and early college know that I tried making webcomics out of video game sprites; this was chiefly because I cannot draw at all. I wish I could adequately express my respect and jealousy towards my friends that can doodle skillfully.

RubyBastille, you have no idea how long I’ve wanted to make comics about my campaigns. Yours is fantastic.

Now, I realize that art takes many forms, and I frequently have to remind myself that even though I may not be creative in regard to sketching, I’m still able to create art using other media. Lately, I’ve learned to appreciate the art of explaining difficult or convoluted concepts in simple terms. Bill Nye, Carl Sagan, and others science popularizers display incredible craftsmanship by translating scientific literature and research into easily palatable concepts.

Coupled with my recent foray into the expansive universe of Reddit, I’ve found a new home in the “ELI5” community. Here, redditors attempt to answer difficult questions as they would to a five-year-old. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve read an ELI5 explanation of what happened to Gandalf the Grey after falling with the Balrog that resulted in him becoming Galdalf the White. Spoiler alert: You’ll see a lot of words like Gil-Galad, Ilúvatar, Celebrimbor and Maiar in the in-depth discussions that follow the surprisingly simple explanations given. Consider yourselves warned.

As of this morning, I have a working knowledge of how space and time are related, why we cannot travel at the speed of light, and the importance of light being massless. Let me know if this excites you as much as if does me.

Everything, by nature of simply existing, is “moving” at the speed of light (which really has nothing to do with light: more on that later). Yes, that does include you.

Our understanding of the universe is that the way that we perceive space and time as separate things is, to be frank, wrong. They aren’t separate: the universe is made of “spacetime,” all one word. A year and a lightyear describe different things in our day to day lives, but from a physicist’s point of view, they’re actually the exact same thing (depending on what kind of physics you’re doing).

In our day to day lives, we define motion as a distance traveled over some amount of time. However, if distances and intervals of time are the exact same thing, that suddenly becomes completely meaningless. “I traveled one foot for every foot that I traveled” is an absolutely absurd statement!

The way it works is that everything in the universe travels through spacetime at some speed which I’ll call “c” for the sake of brevity. Remember, motion in spacetime is meaningless, so it makes sense that nothing could be “faster” or “slower” through spacetime than anything else. Everybody and everything travels at one foot per foot, that’s just… how it works.

Obviously, though, things do seem to have different speeds. The reason that happens is that time and space are orthogonal, which is sort of a fancy term for “at right angles to each other.” North and east, for example, are orthogonal: you can travel as far as you want directly to the north, but it’s not going to affect where you are in terms of east/west at all.

Just like how you can travel north without traveling east, you can travel through time without it affecting where you are in space. Conversely, you can travel through space without it affecting where you are in time.

You’re (presumably) sitting in your chair right now, which means you’re not traveling through space at all. Since you have to travel through spacetime at c (speed of light), though, that means all of your motion is through time.

By the way, this is why time dilation happens: something that’s moving very fast relative to you is moving through space, but since they can only travel through spacetime at c, they have to be moving more slowly through time to compensate (from your point of view).

Light, on the other hand, doesn’t travel through time at all. The reason it doesn’t is somewhat complicated, but it has to do with the fact that it has no mass.

Something that isn’t moving that has mass can have energy: that’s what E = mc2 means. Light has no mass, but it does have energy. If we plug the mass of light into E=mc2, we get 0, which makes no sense because light has energy. Hence, light can never be stationary.

Not only that, but light can never be stationary from anybody’s perspective. Since, like everything else, it travels at c through spacetime, that means all of its “spacetime speed” mustbe through space, and none of it is through time.

So, light travels at c. Not at all by coincidence, you’ll often hear c referred to as the “speed of light in a vacuum.” Really, though, it’s the speed that everything travels at, and it happens to be the speed that light travels through space at because it has no mass.

– User corpuscle634, in response to “Why does light travel?” He also explains, “What is a hadron?” “The pay gap between men and women,” and “Why can’t I just reverse magnets to make a hoverboard?”

I can honestly say, I want to be more like “corpuscle634.”

When it comes to video games, I have to admit that I love complication.

As my wife will no doubt attest, I have a knack for turning any game we play from fun to boring, from boring to tedious, and from tedious to frustrating. I wish I knew why, but in all too many cases I enjoy the metagame more than the game itself. As with all nerdy newlyweds, we both dreamed of playing games together. I ostensibly crushed these dreams underfoot. When we played Diablo II, I lambasted her for leveling inefficiently. When we played Super Mario World, I threw a tantrum every time she missed an alternate level ending. I’m pretty sure I gave a lecture about zombie survival philosophy when she didn’t pick up the shotgun in Left 4 Dead.

We’re I’m getting better. I have to remember that we are coming from different worlds when it comes to gaming experience. She would play Donkey Kong Country with friends and family; I would spend years alone playing MMORPGs and even more time researching how to optimize my play time in said MMORPGs. I’m starting to realize that Final Fantasy can still be fun without EVERY item, Zelda without EVERY heart container, and Mass Effect without EVERY codex entry. I’m still not entirely sure HOW this is still fun, but I’m learning.

Part of this re-education involves how I play a game. Whereas before I usually wouldn’t play Pokemon without multiple wiki pages open and an open notepad, I’m striving now to play games organically. I completed the Mass Effect trilogy without referring to a single wiki, and even tried a Nuzlocke Challenge!

The other part of learning to simply enjoy video games has come about through playing more simply enjoyable video games.

Tetris for NES

Let’s take Tetris for example, first. I’ve always loved Tetris. Anyone who grew up with a green-and-yellow-screened Game Boy did. But when I was young and played this game, without wikis, meta-gaming, or research. Why? Because it was easy to pick up and play, its rules were simple and standard, and the ratio of time invested to entertainment was very low.

Now, the old Emgee would most likely dismiss these traits as indicative of a weak game. You don’t even have to be a nerd to enjoy Tetris! As I take a step back, I’m finding that I not only -can- still be a nerd and play casual games, but that these simple games work as a great relief to the by-product stress of the complicated games I enjoy.

An example of the orbital view in Kerbal Space Program

 

Don’t get me wrong–I love plotting Hohmann Transfers and scheduling retrograde insertion burns just as much everyone else. Kerbal Space Program gives me that strange mixture of fun and learning that I haven’t felt since Mario Teaches Typing. It also gives me a headache if I play for too long. Which, unsurprisingly, I do quite often.

One of my goals for this blog is to sojourn into video game reviews, and my first venture will be comparing and contrasting some of my favorite complicated games with the casual games which have caught my attention lately. Any requests?

(Co-written with Michael Weeks; a glimpse of Kip before we meet his ship and crew.)

Kip winced as the CP-250 Wrecking and Salvage ship slammed against an unseen object on the port side. He wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his shaking hand. The control panel of the tiny ship seemed altogether foreign to him as he glanced back and forth between its sensor screens and life support systems. He looked through the glass viewports behind him–hoping he wouldn’t catch a glimpse of the three pirate space-skimmers that had broadsided his ship with magnetic rounds minutes earlier. Hull integrity was dropping and it was only a matter of time before the tiny ship would begin to break apart if Kip didn’t start repairing it.

Kip’s eyes widened as he furiously jammed at the controls, sending the small ship into a steep vertical climb. A massive asteroid quickly absorbed his entire view field as if it was an infinite wall of rock, blocking out all view of the stars behind it. Kip swore as the engines roared into action, trying to keep the small ship from pounding into the stony barrier before it. As the ship angled upward, the view from Kip’s cockpit ports began to change from a cratered wall to the bright horizon. The forward momentum of the CP-250 was not easily redirected, though, and Kip soon realized his small ship was about to bounce off the massive asteroid instead of safely arching over the tall ridge just ahead.

Kip grabbed the safety harness attached to his chair and frantically strapped in. Navigational warnings began to shriek from the control panel as the altitude monitor dropped like an anvil.

Grinding. Crashing. For a time, burning. A blur of sensation slowly faded away, allowing Kip to recollect the shattered remains of his senses. When he could finally piece together the world around him, he realized that he needed to move, and fast. The viewport showed a backdrop of stars and darkness that Kip was all too familiar with; what it didn’t show was the half of Kip’s CP-250 that was splayed upon the asteroid like a dollop of jelly on toast.

Kip shook off the remaining dizziness and attempted to bring his systems back online. To his dismay, silence replaced the series of whistles, clicks and beeps that usually followed his interaction with the outdated ship. Groaning, he unfastened himself from the helm and made his way back into the CP-250’s main corridor, hoping to discover whatever was keeping the ship from operating correctly.

Kip quickly found that the problem was far greater than he first thought. Upon opening the bridge airlock door, a gasp of escaping air jetted past him, and for the brief instant before he shut the port again, he could see that instead of a hallway with multiple doors and system interfaces, his ship abruptly ended in a wall of asteroid. Almost instinctively, Kip grabbed the space-suit he had stowed behind the helm and adroitly slid into the protective skin. He’d been mocked before for keeping his bridge cluttered with what some called ‘junk’, but times like these reminded him why he ignored every jibe.

When his suit’s oxygen meter glowed a healthy green, Kip again opened the bridge airlock, swung through, and closed it again behind him. The ship seemed to have been split in two, leaving only a portion of the hallway between Kip and the asteroid surface. Kip’s quarters, the life support system, and cargo hold were simply no longer present. Kip decided to collect what he could from the remaining rooms and take a look outside.

Finding only an overused toolbox and a high-powered work lamp, Kip fastened them to his suit and opened a ventral airlock to hop outside. No hissing accompanied this door’s opening, as the air had already drained from the main portion of the ship. The asteroid was dimly lit by the sun’s reflection off the other asteroids in the field, but Kip still fired up the flood lamp and turned it onto the poor ship.

“Yuck. Nobody deserves this, even an ugly son-of-a-bitch like you.” The CP-250’s hull was bent and broken, and Kip was surprised that the bridge had remained as intact as it had. Turning the lamp about the asteroid, Kip saw the ship’s aft floating nearby in pieces–some strewn around the area and some being tossed about in the churning field of asteroids. Kip watched, disheartened, as what used to be his quarters collided with a hurtling rock, sending the crumpled piece of metal spinning and flinging his few belongings into space.

Knowing the ship was now beyond saving, Kip set to doing what he did best–scuttling. Over the next half-hour, he tore off the destroyed ship’s long-range antenna, found a pistol and solar blanket among the debris, and siphoned what oxygen he could from the ship’s supply into a (now) portable tank. Collecting his effects and his wits, Kip started hopping along the asteroid’s surface in an effort to reach someplace where he could set up the antenna as a distress beacon. He’d hardly made a dozen steps before the hum of a ship overhead reminded him what had sent his ship careening into the asteroid in the first place. The pirate vessel slowly hovered over Kip, and just as he turned off his lamp and dove for an outcropping to hide, the pirate craft lit a flood light and began to search for the scrambling captain.

“Damn.” Kip cowered below the outcropping, looking over his collected tools and materials. It wasn’t enough that the pirates had destroyed his ship, they were after his head too.  Kip paused for a moment in his own thoughts. Come to think of it, the pirates had only hit him once. It was the asteroid field and his own inability to navigate it successfully that had been the undoing of the tired CP-250, and not the pirates. He cursed louder as his pride evaporated along with his hope for escape.

The second and third pirate skimmers appeared now, releasing their own flood lights upon the barren asteroid surface. He could see the first skimmer opening up just beside his hiding spot as one of the pirates emerged on a small personal skiff. Kip reached for his pistol, checked its magnetic rounds and moved into a crouched position.  He knew that the skiff was his best chance for any kind of temporary escape; maybe he could use the element of surprise to catch them off-guard before their flood lights caught him hiding in the dust.

As the skiff drifted toward the wreckage, it dawned on Kip that the pirates might assume he was dead. Half of the poor, old wrecker was impacted on several other asteroids at the moment–who wouldn’t think that its captain was likewise strewn across the asteroid field? Kip carefully eyed the three skimmers and began to slink away from his protective outcropping, keeping as close to the ground as possible.

Kip crawled from rock to rock, checking behind him each time. Movement in such low gravity levels was hard enough, so keeping himself hidden among the shadows of the rotating asteroid felt next to impossible. He muttered under his breath every time he lost his grip and bounced around the dusty ground. Kip had managed to put about 50 meters of distance between him and the pirates when he noticed something glinting in the sunlight. Peering out from behind a large stone, he reached for his pistol. His hand came up empty.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me!” Roughly 20 meters behind him was his pistol, slowly spinning above the ground and reflecting the sun’s light like a beacon to anyone looking in its general direction. “Well this is just great.”

Kip watched as the small skiff cruised over to the hovering pistol to investigate. The pirate dismounted the skiff and floated to the ground, inspecting the deep grooves and tracks Kip’s bouncing body had created along the way. He signaled with his hand in the direction of the tracks, obviously communicating with someone piloting the larger skimmer. The engine of the angular outlaw ship murmured as the craft spun to face the direction of the pointing pirate.

Blinding flood lights illuminated Kip’s path across the dusty asteroid. Now completely unarmed, without a ship, running out of oxygen, and with pirates hot on his trail, he looked for any kind of answer or hiding place. He needed a miracle. Instead he saw the mouth of a large cavern; out of desperation or foolish hope, he made for the dark opening.

The flat sound of a magnetic round echoed in Kip’s ears as a shot glanced off the right side of his helmet. Kip soared into the darkness of the cavern as more rounds flew past his flailing body. As he descended, the dull, white nose of a large transport ship suddenly appeared out of the darkness. “Oh… no, NO!” Kip yelled a second before his body collided into the front of the hidden ship. Stunned, he rebounded off its hull like a rag doll. Almost instantly he found himself wrapped around the end of its starboard wing, grasping for anything that would keep him from sliding off into the blackness below.

“Don’t sneak up on me like that!” Kip blurted as he grabbed a handle near the ship’s dorsal hatch. After doing a quick scan of the ship, he couldn’t find any descriptive labels or identifying characteristics. “Hmm. Never seen your type before. Aren’t you going to introduce yourself?” Kip’s probing was cut short when a shot ricocheted against the ship’s hull. He tried to wrench open the hatch, but it wouldn’t budge. “Listen honey, we can get to know each other later–I need inside RIGHT NOW!”

As if in response, part of the ship suddenly swung around; a mobile weapon boom or sensor house rotated around the ship with surprising speed. Kip wasn’t the only one surprised by the sudden motion—one of the pirates, attempting to sneak up on his prey, was knocked clear by the swiveling boom. Had Kip looked up, he’d have seen the flailing outlaw floating out into the aether, writhing against inertia until pummeled by a micro-asteroid. Kip’s eyes were instead focused on the approaching boom, and as it swung over his hatch, he let go of the ship for a split-second. The boom stopped over the hatch, and Kip again grabbed hold of a handle as a hatch on the boom itself opened underneath him.

Wasting no time, Kip slung his body into the ship. He found himself sitting in a curved hallway, eerily lit by a strange, faintly-humming light. The hatch spun shut as Kip hopped to his feet, collecting his wits. “Huh.” Kip hid none of his confusion as he wandered the alien ship. “Alright, what are we gonna do about these damn pirates?” The sound of the boom swinging outside startled Kip momentarily, almost as much as the sound of steel plates withdrawing from the walls, revealing windows across the ship. Two pirate craft loomed outside the cave entrance, dodging asteroids and shining search lights onto the parked ship. “Yeah, those guys!” From the boom, a flood light blinked on and showered the pursuing craft in a fiercely bright light. As the pirate ships scurried from the blinding light, Kip chastised the ship, “I could already see them; we need to DO something about them! You know, swat them like the pesky flies they are!”

Kip was quite surprised by how the ship carried out his request. With a slight lurch, the ship lifted off and exited the cave, dashing directly toward the larger of the pirate ships. The smaller craft bolted to starboard, but the larger held its ground and loosed a few rounds. The shots went astray, and Kip’s ship cruised directly towards the attacker. Just before collision, the ship’s boom swiveled to the front, and with a powerful blast from its repulsor drive it sent the pirate craft drifting back into the path of an incoming asteroid. Kip sucked in his breath as he watched the pirate destroyed by the spinning rock. “Whoa whoa whoa! We don’t have to kill ‘em! Just…  just… let’s get out of here!”

The ship turned and thrusters roared. Kip hustled down the hallway, looking for the bridge. Beyond the many windows, asteroids flew by, but the ship deftly maneuvered around each one. Still hustling, Kip noticed that he’d done a full lap of the ship, and still hadn’t found the bridge. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the fleeing pirate regroup with his last comrade, as both ships started their pursuit. “OK, seriously, I need someplace to SIT!” In answer, a door hissed open down the hall. Kip dashed to the opening, but frowned when he found the only seat in the small room was a commode. “This… doesn’t help me. This is a TOILET!” Kip shouted, walking back into the hallway. The door closed behind him, and Kip looked back out into the field—just in time to see a missile from the pirate ships detonating against a nearby asteroid.

The ship rocked with the explosion, but continued its delicate dance between the tumultuous asteroids. “Listen—we have to do something, or those jerks are going to tear you apart. You have to have some kind of weapons system, or some more tricks up your sleeve,” Kip pined as he stared back at his pursuers. Another explosion shook the ship, sending Kip falling down the hallway. A door opened, and Kip fell straight through it, landing in what he found to be a very soft and comfortable bed. The bedroom had a great window, and as Kip looked up, the view into space shifted; the ship itself rotated, and Kip found himself looking astern at the following pirates.

A whistling sound came from many directions, and through Kip’s peripheral vision he noticed a series of tow cables shooting out from the ship. Pitons drove into surrounding asteroids, and as the ship continued forward, the now attached rocks flailed and jostled about as they dragged behind the ship. One of the pirates could not correct his trajectory to avoid the arcing stone, and his ship was caught in the nose, sending it tumbling forward into another asteroid. The remaining outlaw cleverly slowed, and picked up its chase beyond the range of the trailing rocks. After regaining a lock, it loosed a missile. Kip snickered lightly as his ship released the attached asteroids and retracted the tow cables, leaving a screen of rocks that promptly blocked and detonated the incoming torpedo. Blinded by the sudden explosion, the remaining pirate flew through the dust, smoke, and debris, emerging from the rubble with a hull dotted with pock-marks and scored with burns.

Kip rested his head against the pillow. “Whew. I’ve been in my share of dogfights, but never anything like THAT–especially from bed!” Reaching the edge of the asteroids, the ship entered open space, and began to close the steel window shutters along the bedroom wall. Kip caught one last glimpse of the hobbled pirate craft, which had by then exited the field behind them. As the windows closed, Kip’s conscience got the best of him.

“Nobody deserves to drift like that. Can we at least send him towards a station?” Kip felt the ship correct its course, making a slow and large loop before leveling out and sweeping by the incapacitated ship. Two of the tow cables again shot out, the pitons embedding into the pirate hull. The ship slowed momentarily, but soon had regained speed with the other craft in tow.

After the outlaw’s trajectory was fixed, the cables released, sending the hulk cruising through space toward a distant refueling outpost. “That should give that asshole some time to think about what he’s done,” Kip noted, closing his eyes. “Very nice work, um… ship. Is it OK if I call you Ship?” The only response Kip received was the dimming of his cabin’s lights. “Whatever. This whole ordeal tired me out. I’ll let you fly us back to Gerald’s. Co-ords are 151, -12, 64. Be a dear and wake me up once we land, alright?” Kip smiled as he drifted into slumber, while his new ship carried him home.

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