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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:02 pm 
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Gallowglacht wrote:
A small aquatic habitat in one part of the ship. The cargo bays, feul and engineering dont need to be flooded. Engineering maintainance done by robot controlled from the habitat. If an alien has to go to engineering it puts on a spacesuit to meet its needs and pushes, pulls itself through the zero -g environment, like an astronaut unhooking something from the space shuttles arm when the cargo bay door are open.

A very interesting concept, thank you for it. :D

I still have problems to imagine how this would work for these aliens,
who usually need a medium to swim in, and probably would find move-
ment without such a medium rather strange, although the concept is
a logical idea at least for their early spaceships, when mass is a deci-
sive factor.

I will have to think about it a bit more. ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:03 pm 
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rust wrote:
Mainly because these aliens are normally unable to move on dry land


I guess the obvious question is "how did these aliens become technologically advanced if they are completely aquatic"? What do they look like? Do they have manipulator limbs? How did they manage to advance if they were unable to use fire?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:18 pm 
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EDG wrote:
I guess the obvious question is "how did these aliens become technologically advanced if they are completely aquatic"? What do they look like? Do they have manipulator limbs? How did they manage to advance if they were unable to use fire?

The aliens built their aquatic technology on biology instead of metallurgy, their
devices are either grown by living organisms or are living organisms, first created
through selective breeding and later through genetic manipulation.

For example, a starship hull is not manufactured out of metal, it is grown in the
desired form by "corals" who filter metal out of the sea water and accumulate it
in their bodies, creating a material that is like a composite of ceramics and metal.

The aliens look somewhat like the picture below, only that their first pair of fins
has developed into manipulators not much different from human hands.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:24 am 
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"If you are not moving, you are dead." unknown aquatic intelligent life form

(Most of these thoughts and comments are not in a set order. But they do make sense if you can read them.) :)
NOTES for reference
AC is short for Aquatic Creature, the intelligent type
School refers to a family, more like an extended, like minded community where the majority are related to one another. There will always be non related individual(s ) in a school since there needs to be some crossbreeding to keep the lines from developing those funny ears.
Functional area is the general term used for; engineering, bridge, living area, food production, etc. Ie an area where work is done or required resources are kept
A non functional area is used for: corridors, pocket feeders, entry points to and from the ship etc. Ie an area where nothing is truly required to be done but it exists
Pocket Feeders are a specialized form of aquatic creatures used as food


Most aquatic creatures that are truly, full time aquatic must be on the move or making some body movements. Or they must be in a stream or current and are station keeping, to stay alive.

Since the water is their life support, toliet, and atmosphere it is important that it be maintained in a much more rigid standard than human air.

If this aquatic creature is not afraid of enclosed spaces then it would most likely have corridors in it ship along with well defined usage areas to help keep things under control (I say this because I doubt that a purely chaotic like creature would make ships or advance in TL.)

At first the ships probably had just linkage corridors between function rooms. But later it was discovered that movement was more organized if a current going from aft to foward was placed on one side of the corridor and another going forward to aft on the other. Sort of a controled oblong whirl pool.

In the bigger ships, there would be a forward moving corridor and an aft moving corridor with dart holes on the sides for the AC (Aquatic Creature) to move into the functioning area or to the other corridor.

Life Support
How does it function?
Well the AC discovered long before they created ships, ways to cultivate seaweed and the electrolisys of water (breaking water down into Hydrogen and Oxygen) along with which other species of life forms were good to eat (assuming they eat both veg and meat) and which life froms were good at gardening naturally.
Later they discovered how to store some of these properties like H and O along with creating energy and freezing food (for later use as survival food not regular food, because it tastes dead and terrible.)

Knowing that they needed to keep water moving, they noticed (discovered) that gravity (moon and tides) moved water and that even if water is held in a large container (like sea lake) that the water will still move. But if placed into a smaller area, that gravity (natural) did not move water.
One AC noticed that certain underwater plants moved with the water in a wave like fashion. Though laughed at and chased out of many schools (family groups not educational places) he stuck with it. Several generations later, a scientist AC was trying to find how various plants reacted to the newly discovered way of generatoring controled amounts of current. When he applied ___________ amount of current to the wave plants that they would move against the normal current and tides. After looking up the loon AC's ancient notes (more about this later) he discovered ways to make the wave plants actually move limited amounts of water in a still container. Two major drawbacks are: It takes 1 min of time per 100 gallons of water before an artifical current is noticed and 10 mins of time per 100 gallons before it is an effective movement of water to sustain any life. Also, the plants could only sustain this movement under current for 10 hours before reaching critical deteration and would stop functioning, only 1 hour of electrical current could be applied and then 5 hours rest before it could be applied again with out killing the plants.
Though considered a failure, this wave plant with electrical current applied has been used for emergency life support in a few disasters (every young AC knows how to do this) and it is also found as the 2nd back up on ships if required.

The important part of the above discovery is that it made other scientist AC's realize that they could create artifical currents. Many new discoverys were made off the trial and errors attempting to find ways to create artifical current (water movement).

The 2 most common used ways to move water in a ship is the magfan (magnetic fan) and the wiggler.
The magfan is basically a simple electric enigne.
The wiggler is a bio life form that was breed to do nothing but swim while attached to coral. It eats the coral (very slowly). It lives to swim and eat, It releases little eggs (about 100 at a time) once a month and those that survive will attach to the nearest coral and start swimming and eating. (They mature in 60 days and continue growing in size for 1 year, They only have a life span of 5 years total.)
There is several minor drawbacks. The wigglers also taste very good and their eggs are considered a desert treat. In the ocean if not protected they will die off quickly due to no defensive instinct. In a ship, if not cared for properly they will over take a ship by attaching every where and over several generation, eat the ship out of existance. Wigglers can be unattached by applying a small eletrical shock to (near) the mouth area and then moved. They must be moved quickly (within 15 mins or less) other wise they will start to starve to death. A wiggler that is not eating some form of coral (or special food) will die with in an hour..
Also wigglers can be made to swim faster if a light electrical current is placed in the water close by them. But if the charge is left on for more than 1 hour, wigglers will start dying.

OK you have explained how the water is moved, now what about air (breathing gases) and food?

Well the air/breathable gases was an easy fix. With the advancement of electricity and the understand of how water can be broken down into H and O along with the fact that various minerals (sea bed and rocks) and some plants give off the required life support gases. In the beginning it took 1/2 of the ships volume to just produce all the required life support (breathing gases, food and water movement). Later an odd AC explorer discovered that some times gases got trapped in volanic action. He later introduced these to an artist friend who basically discovered how to blow glass. With in a few generations, scientist were creating glass containers to keep various specimens and gases. Now on ships, before they take off they distill the required gases and store them in pressurized contationers.

Whoa, where did these pressurized containers come from?
Well in the beginning it was know that if you go very deep into the sea (depth wise) that the pressure was much greater. So they first started doing this. Later with the magfan it was found (by accident) that if you made a magfan go fast enough and created a one way flapper in a glass container that you could create a greater pressure in that container than the surrounding area's pressure.

Another AC scientist found that the colder the gases the more compressed you could make them. Which by the way surprised the entire AC world since everyone knew that when things get colder they expand (water ;) ) which was an old AC miners trick to free up needed items or material.

In ships there is an specialized trained AC who's job is to regulate how much breathable gases are in the water and to restock them when they land again.

As for food we need to cover something else first, waste.
This was one of the biggest hurtles (of a sort) for ship travelers. In beginning, when AC wanted to go he went. Later as civilization started, it was considered 'rude' to relieve yourself in anothers living area (home).
Later it became a fashion with some (and a cult with a minor group) that an AC should only relieve themselves in special areas. One's garden, or a special food room.

On ships it is important and proper that one does not relieve themselves in corridors nor while at a duty station. In large ship there are rooms next to food production where one goes and on smaller ships, one normally goes in either engineering or their own room. (more later on why engineering)

So waste control is done for 2 reasons now, politeness and for food growth.
It was discovered that AC's waste (along with other living beings) had materials that some plants found beneficial. After careful breeding for several generations, certain plants were created that did much better not only filtering such waste but producing either breathable air or food.

Food
Food comes in 3 forms
Living creatures (assuming that AC's eat meat and veg), plants, and survival food.
Survival food is that which is frozen and sometimes frozen while surrounded by certain gases (like CO, carbon monoxide). Its not very tasty but one can live on it if required.
Plants are very straight forward and similar to what humans do, so I will not cover much here.
There are plants that one eats, one that one keeps (like flowers and such) and one that produce air, and plants that filter the water to keep it livable.

Living creatures are of several forms. Most are the lower swimming life forms and are found in small pockets through out the ship. These have been breed for the solo reason of fast reproduction, tasty eating and tame. They live off the waste from of both AC and some of the other required life forms on the ship. (Other required life forms? Now what? Patience, I will get there.)

The wigglers are considered food also. But limited amounts must be taken or otherwise the secondary (often found in one's living areas) water flow will be lost.
Wigglers are often taken down for food by their 4th year. They are considered to be too tough to eat once they reach their final year of life. And AC's don't eat dead things.

There are some other life forms kept for eating but you get the idea.

Now for functional areas
First, living area's. They are larger and hold upto a small school (ie 5 to 8 individual ACs). They have their own water movement and small garden. Once in a while there will be a small sleeping area for 3 to 4 individual ACs which is usually found near a busy functional area like engineering or the ?bridge?. These smaller areas are where some of the ACs go to rest while working a long duty. (ie napping) These smaller resting areas do not have any food or plants but they do have their own magfan and/or wiggler control.
In the more advance (ie later designed) ships there is a magfan placed over the entry way to the living area. It has started to become practice that if there is a down current on the entry way, it is considered a closed door. One may still talk/call to the occupants but it is considered rude unless emergency or the leader demands it to cross a down current entry way.

The living area is mainly used as the down time and/or sleep time area. Sometimes it is used for the snack area for the school group that has been assigned to it. (There is no such thing as owning a living area. The leader decides who lives in what functional area.

On larger ships where there may be 2 or more schools (note: entire schools not groups with in the school) it is common to have seperate living function areas. Each school will have a large common area and then smaller (group size, 5 to 10) living areas off this large one. Also, it is becoming common on the larger ships that familys are traveling along so that there maybe a large common living room with smaller living areas off this even if there is only one school on the ship.

Bridge?
Where the decisions are made? where the leader and other important individual AC's observe the outside?
The bridge does not exist like found on human ships. It is not at the front of the ship. It is near engineering and often has a way to reach the outside of the ship if needed (mainly when on a planet)

There are limited control things here,

Engineering
The catch pool of everything else except food. On smaller ships even the food is grown here in smaller chambers/functional areas.
Here the main electrical generation is done (but how? more later) as is the magfan engines (which move the ship on planet, in both water movement and gravity control), along with primary filter control (filtering of the water)
Engineering is not a spacious place but it is the most important place in the ship. No engineering, everything else fails quickly.

The leader of the school makes the decisions but it is the engineer leader that makes thing happen.

OK, electricity is generated by 3 means
piezo-electricity, Not as powerful as Reverse magfan technology but good for local areas. It is a new development and has seen limited success so far but many AC scientist think that if they can find better ways to store the effect they will replace some of the reverse magfan tech (ie they need to discover batteries that are not organic)

Electric life forms (mainly used to generate localized effects or remote items. Often these are carried the same way one would carry batteries or a generator to another location. All engineer AC usually carry/travel with one or more of these things. There is some breeding ongoing to train these life forms to be like a pet but with extremely limited success so far. Most are kept on a leash? or in a cage.

Reverse magfan technology. This was discovered late after many generations of use of the magfans being used to create moving water and to speed up movement from location to another. It is one of the ways that allowed the ships to leave the planets and travel in that empty ocean inbetween planets. The most common form to use the magfan to create electricity is with bubbles in a compress (high pressure) glass sphere. As the bubbles move up from gravity and through the magfans blades, the blades then turn and the reverse magfan produces electricity. The compressed gases can be anything but the key requirement is that they move through the magfan. Gravity control is used to do this while in transit between planets but there are backup ways to do this. They just use up lots of local resources to do though.

Food functional area
This is also where some of the filter control is done and where the plants and life forms are cared for. Many of the life forms and plants have been breed for this specialized enviroment.
There is no dining area, mess hall or lounge as these are forgien concepts the ACs.

A subdivsion of the food functional area is the utility care area. Here life forms that are used in engineering, control, wigglers, and certain coral/crystals are kept, grown and stored.


(This is getting extremely long winded and I have only just started, so I will stop with one more item of note)

Since ACs must always keep in the move to live, something had to be done to create that kind of enviroment inside a ship. Especially at control stations.
Magfans (and wigglers) to the rescue. At each duty station were an AC must basically be stationary to do its function there are controls that adjust the water movement (current) for that localized area. When an AC is not at that station, it is normally not producing water movement.
With magfans this was easily done. But when wigglers were the only tech available, a localized current must be employed and then only for limited time or the wigglers would die.

These local control stations are slightly different than the other functional areas. In functional areas, there is always a current (water movement) in a set pattern. Just like in corridors, there is aways a set water movement pattern. But at control areas, it a localized effect and only works for the individual AC at that station.

Dave Chase

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:25 am 
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Whow - thank you very, very much for this essay, Dave. :D :D :D

This really helps a lot, I can now imagine much better what the aliens'
ships as well as their shipboard life could have been like, and you have
answered quite a number of questions about the aliens I had not even
thought of yet - until now in my mind they were more ancient fossils
than active creatures.

Oh, and in the process you have also answered a few questions about
the typical behaviour of the Kangas, the semi-intelligent descendants of
the spacefaring aliens. :D


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:49 am 
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EDG wrote:
rust wrote:
Mainly because these aliens are normally unable to move on dry land


I guess the obvious question is "how did these aliens become technologically advanced if they are completely aquatic"? What do they look like? Do they have manipulator limbs? How did they manage to advance if they were unable to use fire?


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... 00x450.jpg

"Bwahahahahaha we have hands now, next step FIRE!"
"erm, Bert, I don't...."
"Back crazy luddite, I am Make Science!"

http://dresdencodak.com/2009/09/22/cave ... e-fiction/


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:04 am 
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Thank you very much for those links. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:09 pm 
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You are very welcome, rust. :)

Just take note about the wigglers (if you decide to use them). They would help explain why there is not much left of any space ships laying around.

I have ideas about some of the other speciality breed life forms and plants but it's your world or Rustverse. :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:30 pm 
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Dave Chase wrote:
Just take note about the wigglers (if you decide to use them). They would help explain why there is not much left of any space ships laying around.

I have already introduced them into the Pandora setting. :D

I had previously decided that some of the "aquacrete corals" the alien outpost
was made of had survived in the shallow waters near the outpost's ruins, main-
ly to give the characters exploring the ruins something useful to discover - the
"aquacrete corals" could make all future underwater construction projects on
Pandora much easier.

Meanwhile I have added some also surviving Wigglers to this, as part of a very
small alien ecosystem that is in a balance between the corals' growth and the
Wigglers' feeding on them, as a bit of additional colour for the setting.
Quote:
I have ideas about some of the other speciality breed life forms and plants ...

These ideas would really be most welcome, right now all I have are these
"aquacrete corals" and some "bioluminescent sponges" as a light source, because
I did not really start to work on this element of the setting until now, with all
those other stuff still partially hanging in the air.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 7:49 am 
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Check out the book Startide Rising by David Brin. It features a dolphin-built and crewed starship.

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