11/05/20 – Going In

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, November 5, 2020.




It wouldn’t be “Baldwin chase scene,” if it didn’t start with no one knowing what the heck is going on.


  1. Rikard

    Thinking up theoretically possible conditions to sci-fi weirdness is quite fun. I believe the guys behind Darths&Droids had a good one for a planet with a core made of water. This one is even niftier – it’s a great setting for RPG-adventures in a starsystem-sized “mining boom town”.

    Just imagine, the deeper you go, the more exotic and valuable the materials, but the hazards! Not to mention claimjumpers, pirates, smugglers, excise agents, Big Mining Company, truckers union, agitators, and indigenous lifeforms.

    1. It probably depends on what you mean by “a cloud of air.”

      If said cloud had uniform density of air in Earth’s atmosphere, then its mass would have a Schwarzschild radius of about 22,000,000 kilometers–considerably less than the radius of Saturn’s orbit, 1,400,000,000 kilometers. So no black hole, unless I tanked my calculations.

      A cloud of air that size, though, would compress under its own gravity. It would be denser at the center than at the fringes. You’d have to add more air to fill up the volume. It’s possible that once the additional mass was added, you’d have a black hole filling the sphere of Saturn’s orbit.

      Or maybe gravitational compression would cause the original, sea-level-density cloud to collapse inside the Schwarzschild radius? Of course, the original cloud would have a mass seven orders of magnitude greater than that of the sun, so gravitational compression would probably result in nuclear fusion. A star! A big star. Now you’ve got the attention of that Galactic Police, who were already interested in where 1.5 x 10^37 kg of nitrogen, oxygen, and trace elements had gone missing.

  2. Pete Rogan

    Well, well, well. Stangor knows a good deal more about the Calama Void than she’s told so far. What more does she need to disclose?

    What she’s said so far suggests that any inhabitants live inside the shell, not on the burning surface facing the star. Which might say something about the habitability of said Void — like whether the shell is massive enough to keep an atmosphere or whether the star has pulled it all into itself.

    Considering how many principles of physics are being violated here in the mere continuing existence of a Dyson sphere, Stangor could have quite a good deal to reveal about how things work here, what the inhabitants are like, and what to do when they encounter some. Which could be shortly; if the ‘Starbanger’ isn’t to penetrate the hollow space where lives the star, it’s either going to come to rest in the shell or plow through some habitations. I’m not sure which outcome is more troubling.

    And I’m beginning to regret I didn’t spring for the treadle on the floor-mounted pop. Getting enough to drink is SUCH a suck.

    1. Muzhik


      Last frame of Efogoto’s link. For some reason I instantly recognized it there but not in other places. In Star Trek TOS there was a panel in the middle of the helm, between Checkov (wait — didn’t he have a gun in that scene?) and Sulu, which was used for navigation. It was essential, but no one knew what it was for except for the two helmsmen.

  3. Pete Rogan

    I love Easter eggs that aren’t found for years. Never mind the ones in my work — if you want the Prince of all Easter eggs, look to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Silmarillion.” It’s the collection of legends-as-history detailing everything from the Creation of Middle-earth to the fall of Númenor, the greatest civilization of Men.

    The book about the island continent of Númenor and its destruction is the longest in the Silmarillion, and sets the stage for the events of the end of the Second Age and the start of the Third, some six thousand years to come. The name of this book in Westernesse is ‘The Downfallen,’ or in the Adûnaic language of Númenor, Akallabêth.

    The name of the book in High Elvish Quenya? Atalantë.

    Tolkien scholar Ruth S. Noel says this may make “The Silmarillion” the longest build-up to a pun in English literature. Ya gotta love it.

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