ysabetwordsmith: Jump gate showing diamond ring of light (blueshift)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is the freebie for the March 2014 Crowdfunding Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] ellenmillion. It also fills the "green" square in the public card for the Spring and Autumn Bingo fest over on [community profile] allbingo. This poem belongs to the project The Blueshift Troupers.


"The Stars So Far and Near"


Between one moment and the next,
everything changed:
the stars that had once been
so far away were now
within reach.

No more slowboats --
the old generation ships
and embryo ships and sleepers
were rendered obsolete in an instant.

It was zooming out on a map;
the galaxy that seemed endless
now looked no larger
than the span of a man's hand.

What had been lost,
might be found again;
or others might be lost anew,
exploring these strange gates.

The ships changed, too,
because the old machines
could not handle the jump gates
as well as the strange aliens
who introduced themselves as hiveships.

You could jump
from one gate to the next
between breaths,
and yet it was no longer
as simple as rocket science.

A hiveship was a person -- people --
with opinions and personality and goals
that you had to take into consideration.
You could plant whole gardens inside them,
green leaves like a symbol of spring,
unfurling into possibilities,
but only if they liked you.

Humanity had embarked on a new journey,
but we would never be alone again,
and it was that, as much as the speed,
that changed everything.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-03-17 05:18 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
:-) The last stanza

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-14 06:11 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Yes.

I love it so much.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-03-16 04:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellenmillion.livejournal.com
I love this!

Thank you!

Date: 2014-03-16 04:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
That's good to hear.

I'm still in the process of fleshing out this setting, so it's useful to think about what would have changed and how. I already had the basics down, but it's different when I'm looking at how people feel about a discovery and how it influences society as a result.

That shift from inert metal ships to intelligent biotech ships didn't just change the speed of travel, but the kind of people attracted to space travel. The base scientific fields went from mechanical and electrical engineering to biology and sociology.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-03-16 05:02 am (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
Hmmmm. Cool. That *is* a different way of thinking about it.

Would also tend to limit the spread of assholes, no?

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-03-16 05:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Hmmmm. Cool. That *is* a different way of thinking about it. <<

Sooth.

>> Would also tend to limit the spread of assholes, no? <<

It does! Getting onto a hiveship crew requires fluent community skills, because you have to interface not just with the ship (who is basically a plural person) but also with your human crewmates. It's a long-term relationship, carefully assembled. Assholes are not usually good at this.

Plus you have to have some affinity for the jumptech in general. This varies from low to high. Some people actually have an aversion to it. Shapeshifters tend to have high affinity. So do people with other prominent modifications; each planet has its own challenges and jumptech has been used to try and compensate for those, sometimes leaving vivid genetic changes. A lower affinity is required for traveling as a passenger than for becoming crew.

On the downside, you know how bullies sometimes form gangs? That's a thing that can happen with a hiveship, and they'll attract a human crew with compatible personalities and interests. The affinity comes in subtly varied bandwidths so not everyone is all attracted to each other, although there's a general pull toward anyone with affinity. This compound negativity is uncommon, but it can get really ugly when it happens. Alas, no galaxy or species is free of assholes.

It's just harder for them to travel through the jump network. The more hostile, less congenial people tend to have lower group function and lower affinity for biotech. If they want to go somewhere, they're more likely to seek a plain metal ship -- which do still exist -- but the travel hazards are higher. Sometimes the gate decides to change the destination, or the passengers, or it just kills people. Most gates are reliable, but you just never know for sure.

And it's never going to stop being funny watching mistreated guns bite people.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-03-16 06:41 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
*chuckle*

(no subject)

Date: 2018-09-05 06:03 am (UTC)
satsuma: Ace flag overlayed over the bi flag to make some hella gay plaid (Default)
From: [personal profile] satsuma
I’m glad you added this verse to my fishbowl list because i’ve somehow never stumbled across it before!

(i’m curious about how this verse’s embryo ships worked, btw, even if they’ve fallen out of use by the time the story picks up, that’d still have a noticable effect on culture)

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