Wednesday, 26 October 2016

A Spaceship

We take for granted that we can buy a car and travel maybe for several hours at a time between cities. Nicholas van Rijn's generation take for granted that they can buy a spaceship and travel maybe for several weeks at a time between inhabited planetary systems. Willingly suspending disbelief, we also accept that they can do this - but think what it implies in terms of energy, technology and the effects on society: regular contact not only with human beings of different cultures but also with rational beings of different species. Van Rijn must understand the psychologies of T'Kelans, Cainites, Baburites and Shenna for pragmatic, not academic, reasons.

Van Rijn, Adzel and Thea Beldaniel must travel together to a rendezvous with Beldaniel's masters, the Shenna. Neither van Rijn nor Beldaniel wants to travel in a ship owned, pre-prepared or controlled by the other so:

"...they settled on jointly ordering a new-built vessel from a nonhuman yard - there happened to be one that had just completed her shakedown cruise and was advertising for buyers - with an entire supply stock. They boarded immediately upon Solar System delivery..." (David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 523)

Beldaniel instructs the robopilot with coordinates as soon as they go hyper. The two human beings and one Wodenite are merely passengers in a spacious vessel with staterooms, passages, a galley and a bridge. In this nonhuman-built ship, one compartment is encircled by a transparent strip showing the stars. The ship lands on Dathyna where its drive unit is removed. When van Rijn and his trader team escape from Dathyna in Muddlin' Through, they bombard the castle and the Dathynan spacecraft parked beside it. Since the disabled ship is there as well, it is probably damaged. In any case, it has been bought, has made a single voyage and has then been abandoned but it was a sound investment for van Rijn.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I think you should have added that it would need great wealth before a private person could buy a space ship. That was why Old Nick and Thea Beldaniel were able to buy the ship mentioned here. Ordinary persons of ordinary means would have to travel by space liners, which we see mentioned from time to time.

So, Falkayn's "Muddlin' Through" and Dominic Flandry's "Hooligan" were not purchased by them, but assigned to them by corporate or governments with vast resources. It speeds up the action o the stories if the trader team and Flandry didn't have to travel by ordinary means.