Glotmorf on 19 Mar 2002 07:12:15 -0000

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spoon-business: Nomilogue #3

{{ _DimSpace: the Final Frontier_


I was more than coherent when the Old Man arrived the next night.  I was stone cold sober.  I had no idea what I'd walked into the previous night, and was determined to not be led down any more paths unless at least my eyes were open.  And unglazed.

As a result, I was drinking iced tea that evening.  The Old Man settled into my easy chair, and I brought him a glass.  He sipped at the drink, then gazed balefully at me over the rim.

"Johnny Walker Black," I said.  "The liquor store didn't have Laphroiag." (The manager had told me there was a store that carried it about 40 miles down the coast; I decided if the Old Man could invite himself to my house, he could invite himself to a liquor store too.)

He nodded and didn't comment.  I let him sit and sip for a bit before asking, "You said you'd have a proposition?"

He nodded again, reached into a vest pocket and pulled out an envelope.  He watched me carefully over his glass as I extracted a sheet of paper and read:


{{ _DimShips_

There exists a type of object called a Dimensions Ship, also known as a DimShip.

A DimShip is capable of carrying a Player through DimSpace by taking on virtual dimensional values: Buoyancy (positive virtual value) and Ballast (negative virtual value).  A DimShip can take on Buoyancy or Ballast or a combination of the two, in any Dimension or combination of Dimensions.

A Player employing a DimShip does not travel to a specific location in DimSpace; rather, e displaces emself from eir current DimSpace location.


He was still watching me when I looked up from the paper.  I knew what he was saying, and I didn't like it.

"You can't run a ship on charm and respect!"

"Your equations slander you, then," he replied, pulling out the other paper. "Perhaps you can point out their flaw?"

I grabbed the paper, recognizing my handwriting if not my handiwork.  I knew they were gibberish.  I'd been joking.  I'd been drunk...There was no flaw.  I sank slowly into my own chair as I re-read, reviewed, double-checked...There was no flaw.  If anything, it was some of the cleanest work I'd done in years.

"Mr. Morf?  Is there a problem with your work?"

There was no flaw.

"I want to know when it can be built, you see."

I looked up. "Built?  You want to make one?"  Realization settled in. "You want to *ride* one?"

"Of course.  What did you think I meant?"

"" I waved the paper at him. "This is nonsense!  A joke!"

The Old Man sat and sipped his scotch. "You have disproved your work, then?"

"Just because I don't see the flaw doesn't mean it's not there!"  I glared my irritation at him, then slapped the offending paper onto the coffeetable. "File.  I'll have my lab team look it over. They'll tell you if I can't."

He nodded. "You'll do a complete analysis, then?  Work up a design?"

"If possible.  Which it won't be.  Give me a week."

"I'll give you until tomorrow."

"It'll take them that long to stop laughing!  Three days, at least."

The Old Man considered a moment, then nodded. "Three days.  For analysis and preliminary design." I opened my mouth to protest further, and he added, "I will of course pay for the time."

My mouth opened and shut a couple times before I managed, "Priority rate?"

"What is the price of adventure?"

He was serious.  And while the lab was funded by active contracts (some of them his), one never turns down short-term work.  Before he could change his mind I flipped his proposal over, scribbled some basic legalese, and drew a line at the bottom.  He took my pen and signed.

"Three days?" he asked as he rose to leave.

I nodded stiffly. "Three days."

Three days went by.  My team laughed.  My team stopped laughing.  My team got to work.  I took a drive down the coast.

And the Old Man returned.

I settled him in the chair, and placed a bottle of Laphroiag and a glass at his elbow.  He nodded in approval and poured.  I produced a binder and sat across from him.

"First of all," I began, "the team confirmed your theory about ballast and buoyancy.  We were impressed with how it made everything work."

He smiled faintly and raised his glass to me.

"This preliminary analysis identifies specific limits." I turned to a page in the binder and showed it to him.


Ballast and Buoyancy are each limited to 100.  Each can be set to as much as 100, even at the same time, for displacement in single or multiple dimensions.  That is, no matter how many dimensions Ballast is gathered for, total Ballast must be less than or equal to 100; same with Buoyancy.


"As for the design..."

He waved it off with his glass. "I shall let you people worry about the design.  What is the bottom line?"

I turned to the last page and handed it over.


The cost to produce a DimShip is 100 score.



He stiffened.  His face bulged.  He rose from his seat and exploded, "100 score!  Are you trying to bankrupt me?  Do you think I have that much idle cash?"

I met his eye. "What is the price of adventure?"

There was a long silence.  The Old Man's every muscle was tense.  Then he quietly asked, "And you can build it?"

"A prototyle, at least, yes."

The tension gradually bled out of him.  He gave a soft grunt. "Send me the paperwork in the morning."  I showed him to the door, and he left, muttering something about someone named Luigi.

When I returned to the living room I noticed the bottle of Laphroiag was gone.  Ah well.  What is the price of adventure?