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Old 08-11-2019, 09:29 PM   #11
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: [Psionics] The Spice Must Flow... from Skylab

1974, continued

August 5: The Soviet Union becomes aware of the existence, effects, and method of creating the Spice, due to collating information from several leaks.

August 14: Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt depart Skylab in Gemini XV. They have what is referred to as 'some excitement' when several error messages come up during re-entry, but make it down without serious injury, and with only minor damage to the capsule, due to the parachutes opening slightly later than intended.

August 21: Story Musgrave and Fred Haise launch in Gemini XVII. This is the first Gemini capsule to be launched with an equipment module containing an Apollo docking system; it is accessed by an airtight tunnel from the rear hatch, and equipped with docking cameras. Gemini XVII hard-docks with Skylab successfully, and the astronauts enter the station without needing to spacewalk.

September 7: The new season of Star Trek (designated 'Season 4b' in official documents, with the animated cartoon season being 'Season 4a') begins broadcasting. The opening voice-over, done by Leonard Nimoy, is modified from the original: "Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before!" The episode opens with Fleet Captain Kirk officially transferring command of USS Enterprise to Captain Spock, before beaming over to his new ship. Commander Scott serves as Spock's Executive Officer as well as chief engineer, Lieutenant Chekov serves as bridge science officer, Uhura and Sulu continue in their previous posts but are both promoted to Lieutenant Commander, McCoy's rank and position is unchanged, and both Lt. M'Ress and Lt. Arex are mentioned in dialogue as transferring to USS Federation.

September 10: Alan Shepard undocks Gemini XVI from Skylab, and returns safely.

October 12: Several modules are greenlit by Congress for Skylab expansion, the first being a modified Manned Orbiting Laboratory. The module is to have several docking points for further expansion.

October 15: Stuart Roosa and John Young launch in Gemini XVIII. They hard-dock at Skylab after two tries, as the docking system is very slightly misaligned.

November 6: A pair of electronic engineers, amateur ghost hunters, and Star Trek fans at the University of Barcelona invent the first psychotronic device on this Earth: a transistor-like component which converts psionic energy into electricity, and vice-versa; being serious Trekkers, they naturally name the device the transtator. A sufficiently sensitive transtator can detect active use of psionic abilities at some distance. Naturally, most scientists who hear of it are rather skeptical that this is what it's actually doing.

November 9: The transtator is tested at the Palace of Linares, in Madrid, Spain. It is noted to be reading something on several occasions that spooky events happen, and a few when they don't appear to be.

November 12: Story Musgrave and Fred Haise leave Skylab and return to Earth in Gemini XVII.

December 5: Wally Funk is chosen as CSM pilot for the upcoming Apollo-Soyuz mission. Her ability to predict vehicular problems is the deciding factor, as anything going seriously wrong with this mission would be especially embarrassing, politically.

December 10: Paul Weitz returns to Skylab on Gemini XIX, along with Bruce McCandless II. They are ably to hard-dock without incident.

December 15: Stuart Roosa and John Young leave Skylab on Gemini XVIII, splashing down off the coast of Florida.

December 23: Salyut 4 launched. This will be the first Soviet station to manufacture the Spice.

December 28: First use of the transtator by British ghost hunters, at Glamis Castle in Scotland. The ghost hunters certainly consider it successful, but skeptics feel otherwise.


Thoughts?
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:04 PM   #12
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Default Re: [Psionics] The Spice Must Flow... from Skylab

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1974
The character limit annoys me.
You do know about the GURPS wiki, right?

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Old 08-22-2019, 06:50 AM   #13
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Default Re: [Psionics] The Spice Must Flow... from Skylab

Are there any write-ups in the GURPS Spaceships system for the various NASA and Soviet spacecraft of the era (particularly Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Soyuz, and Salyut/Almaz)? I think they might be useful here, even if Gemini C would need to be modified.
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Old 09-07-2019, 04:58 PM   #14
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Default Re: [Psionics] The Spice Must Flow... from Skylab

1975

January 11: Soyuz 17 docks with Salyut 4.

January 23: Gemini XX, piloted by Charles M. Duke Jr., docks with Skylab. This is the second launch of the man-and-cargo Gemini variant, and the last Gemini to officially use a roman numeral designation.

February 10: Soyuz 17 undocks from Salyut 4, and thumps down in Kazakh SSR.

February 13: Soviet scientists confirm the initial effects of the Spice.

February 20: Soviet scientists test the transtator against individuals under the influence of the Spice, and determine that it seems to work.

February 26: The Peoples Republic of China learns of the Spice by comparing reports from agents in the USA and USSR.

March 2: Chairman Mao Zedong announces that the Peoples Republic of China will 'soon' have a space station 'grander than those of other powers.' The order is very stressful for his subordinates, who need to carry it out (especially for those who know why, and thus know that it's not just an ego project, and that getting it up there sooner rather than later is genuinely urgent).

March 7: The transtator is tested by NASA, and proven to work. The CIA begin plans to place transtators in US embassies and other secure locations, in the hope of at least detecting psychic spies.

March 9: Harley-Davidson Clifftmobile (see June 17, 1974) goes on the market.

March 14: New Zealand finds out about the Spice from a 'friend' of the cultural attaché in New Zealand's Beijing embassy. PM Bill Rowling begins making plans.

March 25: A transtator experiment at the Rhine Research Center appears to generate psychic energy, at least enough to allow communication between two transtators isolated from each other in a pair of solid Faraday cages. One psychic present reports feeling an odd 'thumping' sensation during the test.

April 3-7: The parliaments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the National Assembly of Guyana, among others, begin debating the idea of reviving the BLACK ARROW programme as a possible British Commonwealth launch vehicle, with an aim toward an eventual manned space programme, and either a British Commonwealth space station, or British and/or Commonwealth modules and astronauts on an existing space station (most likely the expanding Skylab, but Salyut is at least mentioned, mainly to put pressure on the Americans). South Africa is not invited to participate, due to the apartheid policy, nor are India and Pakistan, due to British racism (they are the two biggest non-white members of the British Commonwealth - and have no intention of being lead by the British again).

April 5: The British ambassador meets with President Ford; immediately following that meeting, Ford tells his secretary to cancel all appointments for the next few hours, and to inform the Director of Central Intelligence that he has a meeting with the President at his earliest convenience (a polite way of saying 'now, if not sooner'). This meeting covers the fact that Russia and China both know about the Spice, as do the British and several other Commonwealth nations (though not India, Pakistan, or South Africa, for reasons noted above), and the question of why exactly the President of the United States needed to find this out from the British ambassador, rather than from his own intelligence service.

April 6: William E. Colby resigns as DCI, replaced by George H. W. Bush. Director Bush is read in on PROJECT MELANGE, and the number of countries that they know or suspect are now aware of it. Soyuz 18 docks with Salyut 4, bringing cosmonauts Vasily Lazarev and Oleg Makarov to the station.

April 17: Weitz and McCandless leave Skylab in Gemini XIX.

April 23: Gemini 21 launches with Robert L. Crippen and William Lenoir. The spacecraft first soft-docks, then performs an inspection of the station, before hard-docking. Skylab is boosted into a slightly higher orbit, using a pair of small rockets in the Gemini 21 equipment module.

May 1: Several Commonwealth nations release various artists' conceptions of the proposed 'British Commonwealth Space Station Victoria,' along with the general specifications. The designed payload mass is smaller than that of Skylab, and the vehicle is required to be able to funtion as either an independent station, or a component of a larger one. Prominent on both the UK and Canadian designs is a large robotic arm baring a red maple leaf. The New Zealand design has the main habitation module inflate, to allow for much greater internal space compared to payload mass and launch-fairing size. The Australian variant is particularly ambitious, being designed to be assembled in orbit from several parts and multiple launches (thus allowing it to massively exceed the designated payload mass), and forming a Stanford Torus with a pair of counter-rotating wheels. The Guyanan station, by contrast, consists of Argo Service/Habitat Modules (based on NASA's latest artists conceptions of those) linked together by adaptors - the sparse notes suggest getting NASA to design some of said modules to stay in orbit when the Command Module splashes down, and buying said used modules.

May 22: Sydney Pact signed and ratified in several British Commonwealth nations, agreeing to share space resources in a combined agency to be named later.

June 6: 'Royal Astronautical Society of the British Commonwealth' officially chartered in London. Though styled after traditional social clubs to emphasize the civilian nature of the project, the RASBC is governed and sponsored by the member governments of the Sydney Pact.

July 15: Both halves of the Apollo-Soyuz mission launch on schedule. Wally Funk becomes the second woman, and first American woman, in space.

July 17: Apollo and Soyuz dock in orbit.

July 19: Apollo and Soyuz undock.

July 21: Soyuz returns to Earth.

July 22: Apollo splashes down safely.

July 27: Soyuz 18 undocks from Salyut 4, and thumps down safely (with a fairly large load of Spice, as these things go).

August 7: Gemini XX is piloted back to Earth by astronaut Charles Duke. The return to Earth's gravity after nearly eight months without it is quite stressful for him, but he is able to handle it, and NASA physicians are optimistic about future long-duration flights.

August 18: National Enquirer publishes an article on CIA telepaths performing mind-control experiments on unsuspecting US citizens.

September 9: John B. McKay and Anthony W. England reach Skylab in Gemini 22.

October 4: Soyuz 20 brings Pyotr Klimuk and Vitali Sevastyanov to Salyut 4.

October 15: China's Long March 2 rocket fails to make orbit, much to the irritation of Chairman Mao.

November 3: Long March 2A launches successfully, putting a small satellite with two female mice on it in orbit. The mice seem to be reasonably healthy at this time.

November 5: The satellite carrying the Chinese mousetronauts reenters the atmosphere. The heat shield works, and the parachute... mostly works; one mouse survives.

November 17: Gemini 21 returns to Earth.

December 31: Donald H. Peterson and Millie Hughes-Fulford arrive at Skylab aboard Gemini 23. Dr. Hughes-Fulford is the first woman aboard a space station, and the first female payload specialist.
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Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.

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Old 11-21-2019, 10:18 PM   #15
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Default Re: [Psionics] The Spice Must Flow... from Skylab

Something which may become relevant to the future of this timeline (but not soon): A video about 'Improved' Space Shuttle designs, about 11 minutes long. If the Space Shuttle still happens (which is currently my intention, but the timeline may develop away from that), she isn't going to be the same as the STS that we got IOTL. Also, it may be that components that we would be familiar with from the shuttle are used, but the full program either doesn't happen, or doesn't last as long. (Quite fond of the flying saucer a bit over seven minutes in.)

Still working on the entry for 1976. Mostly done, I think, but not complete. Among other things, needing to select a pre-1973 satellite for a Gemini mission to rendezvous with.
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Old 11-22-2019, 03:44 PM   #16
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Default Re: [Psionics] The Spice Must Flow... from Skylab

This is a gorgeous setting. Kudos.

Things I'd like to see:

- A presidential council of sci-fi writers, like in Footfall
- This was the era of wheel-shaped space stations. I'm surprised there's no plans for one
- A reason to ship heavy mass up and down, bringing back the Nova or something. Perhaps you're more likely to get useful psi powers if you take Spice in Space, and so to get high-powered psychics you need to ship them up.
- Charlie McGee (Firestarter) fits into this setting almost perfectly
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Old 11-22-2019, 05:20 PM   #17
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Default Re: [Psionics] The Spice Must Flow... from Skylab

Quote:
Originally Posted by cultureulterior View Post
This is a gorgeous setting. Kudos.
Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cultureulterior View Post
Things I'd like to see:

- A presidential council of sci-fi writers, like in Footfall
Not currently planned, but it might happen once the public has a better idea of how weird things have gotten.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cultureulterior View Post
- This was the era of wheel-shaped space stations. I'm surprised there's no plans for one
No serious current plans in setting due to expense, but there are plans in my head that may have that result.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cultureulterior View Post
- A reason to ship heavy mass up and down, bringing back the Nova or something. Perhaps you're more likely to get useful psi powers if you take Spice in Space, and so to get high-powered psychics you need to ship them up.
Maybe. There are other possibilities, especially after psychotronics becomes more advanced and widespread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cultureulterior View Post
- Charlie McGee (Firestarter) fits into this setting almost perfectly
She does, yeah. Haven't really decided on what happens if someone is conceived while their parents are on the Spice (or still have it in their system), but someone born of a psychic mother and/or raised in a home with one or more psychics is probably more likely to have powers than not.
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Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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Old 11-22-2019, 05:31 PM   #18
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Default Re: [Psionics] The Spice Must Flow... from Skylab

A possible divergence you may want to look into is the Sea Dragon rocket. It was truly, truly impressive, it would have carried 600 tons into LEO, and it was reusable.
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Old 11-22-2019, 05:51 PM   #19
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Default Re: [Psionics] The Spice Must Flow... from Skylab

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
April 3-7: The parliaments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the National Assembly of Guyana, among others, begin debating the idea of reviving the BLACK ARROW programme as a possible British Commonwealth launch vehicle, with an aim toward an eventual manned space programme . . .
Black Arrow was a very lightweight launch vehicle. They'd do better to revive Black Prince, or otherwise base something on Blue Streak.
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Old 11-22-2019, 05:52 PM   #20
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Default Re: [Psionics] The Spice Must Flow... from Skylab

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
A possible divergence you may want to look into is the Sea Dragon rocket. It was truly, truly impressive, it would have carried 600 tons into LEO, and it was reusable.
I remember that, but for some reason hadn't really considered it for this TL. Expensive, but it has a lot of potential. Added to my notes.

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Black Arrow was a very lightweight launch vehicle. They'd do better to revive Black Prince, or otherwise base something on Blue Streak.
Probably going to change later posts (especially 1976, since it's the one I'm currently working on), but at this point, they're getting back into the space game, so starting with a lighter rocket before moving on to Black Prince 2 (or whatever) makes sense.
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"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.

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