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The Official Space Cases Bible

THE SHIP

A)    Her Name, Her Make-up

The "Christa" is the name of our traveler's vessel, according to Thelma, named for a famous Earth teacher who died in space. It has the general shape and appearance of a vast bird of prey. It's damned big... about the size of an aircraft carrier, so there's always new places within heŇ­˙Biting to be explored.

The Christa is powered by solar energy, gathered when the ship's wings spread to reveal vast solar sails connected from the fuselage to the outer tip of the wingspread. (This action is always accompanied by a loud honking noise that no one can figure out how to fix.) When travelling from planet to planet, the Christa glides using the sail wings. This uses almost no energy from the ship's batteries, since the solar energy pushes the vessel along.

When travelling interstellar, the Christa is capable of spreading her wings wider for maximum power absorption and jumping to FTL (Faster Than Light) drive. However, FTL travel drains energy faster, and the ship will always have to come out of FTL warp and power up once more using the sails.

The interior of the Christa has a crystalline look to it. Everything is accessed by touching small arrays of crystals in a certain order. Unfortunately, keeping that order straight is not always possible, plus it's easy to pull the wrong crystal. So an endeavor to do something simple like, say, open a door, can instead drop you through a trap door.

Everything on the ship folds up or swivels out. For instance, when the navigation station is accessed, a section of wall swivels around to reveal the gleaming instrumentation (plus the occasional unflattering portrait of Davenport taped on it.)

The Christa is a source of continuous revelation. Since there's no instruction book, the crew is always feeling its way. There's always hope that some new discovery might reveal the secrets as to the ship's origins and ultimate purpose... and might even speed them on their way home... unless, of course, it winds up blowing the ship to smithereens. An entire episode can be powered by some new finding aboard the Christa (although we must avoid the temptation to pull a convenient deus ex machina; the ship's mystery exists to get us into situations, not out of them.)

B)

"T.C."

"T.C." stands for "The Computer." It's the shipboard information retrieval system, which communicates verbally accompanied by flashing control panel lights. Unfortunately, T.C. (like Thelma) did not survive the trip from wherever-it-came-from with all cylinders clicking. T.C. suffers from M.P.D.... Multiple Programming Disorder. Every episode, the poor thing thinks it's someone else. It's the electronic equivalent of Murphy Brown's secretary, except that in our case, it's all recognizable personalities. One week it's talking like Robert DeNiro ("You programming at me? You gotta be programming at me...ain't nobody else here..."), the next week it's Mister Rogers ("Can you say 'Collision Course?' I thought you could...") Consequently, extracting information... or even getting it to do what you want... is very much a hit-or-miss affair.

C) Intraship Travel

If you're going to another place on the same deck, you can just walk out the door. If, however, you want to get somewhere quickly, take a Tube. These are people-sized holes in the wall with bars across the top that you grab on to as you jump into them feet first. The Tubes run pneumatically through the ship. Next to any Tube hole is a crystal control pad that you use to program your destination, and then you're automatically routed there (at least in theory). All standing sets have visible Tube exit/entrances.

If one is going to be entering a private room (as opposed to the Team Room or Command Post) it is standard that one "call ahead" on a comm panel for permission to enter. "Dropping in" is extremely rude, and only to be done in maximum emergency. Furthermore, private rooms have "lids" that can be swung up and locked into place for privacy... which means if you don't call ahead and get the lid lifted, you'll get creamed against it. Running gag: Davenport never gets where she sets out to go since Harlan has somehow managed to permanently screw up her personal access codes.

D) Intership Travel

Travel between ships is accomplished via "Spaceway," a futuristic version of a Jetway (the ramp that connects an airplane to the terminal). An optical effect (and therefore to be used sparingly), the Spaceway is an energy corridor composed of concentrated graviton particles. Generated from the underbelly of the Christa, it locks in on an access portal in whatever ship is being boarded. Once the locking process is complete, our crew accesses the Spaceway via Tube, and "slide" into wherever they're going (visible as shadows from outside the Spaceway.) Spaceways are also used for access from space stations to ships (that's how they got from the Starcademy to the Christa, for instance)

The range of the Spaceway is limited, however. If we ever actually go to a planet somewhere, the Christa simply lands like a space shuttle.