Those of us old enough to remember when all of the members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus were still alive will recognize the tag line with which their trips into surrealist humor began. Arguably one of the highlights of the BBC’s oeuvre, along with their adaptations of great novels to film.
I promise you, this’ll be different from my last post (the one before I shared R. Crap Mariner’s post on collaborative creation with you), where I either bored you or made you look askance (what the emoticon means) at me for sharing about my verbal jousts over politics in SL.
I’ve got better things to do with my Second Life. Here’s one of them.
Araxes is a sim which hosts a rich, multi-threaded tapestry of science fiction role-play based very loosely on Joss Whedon and Tim Minear’s tragically short-lived US television series Firefly and the movie Serenity based on the same characters, as well as other science-fiction and mythopoeic fantasy, going back to H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.
Above we see downtown Araxes, nestled between huge bluffs against the sandstorms which blow in from the surrounding desert.
Araxes and the neighboring space and land are a hive of internecine intrigue, usually seriocomic. There’s a subplot of resistance against the Alliance dominating the cluster of stars to which a remnant of Earth-that-was’s population fled, when their ancestral planet’s ecology died.
The town has a starport on its outskirts. It has the sort of ambience that makes me hear Sir Alec Guinness intone
“Mos Eisley Spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”
Across the starport’s runway , that grey blocky building with red trim on its sides in top center-left in the photo above is my workplace, Araxes Medical Center.
Here, I’m Patricia, Comtesse de Chenier, MD, FCCP. I’m also a not-all-that-secret agent from the Chenier Moiety of Worlds headquartered on Gliese 581c, 30 light years away. I’m here to investigate a common threat to Araxes, the other worlds on the Rim of the ‘Verse, and my own group of home worlds. I’m just not clear on what it is.
I do my little bit to keep the pot stirred here in Araxes. Between political and diplomatic maneuvers, I treat the orphan Cheryl Anne, whose illnesses are puzzling and strain even the combined resources of Chenier and Araxes.
Especially puzzling, and not a little disconcerting, are when Cheryl Anne acts out violently, which places me and medical gadgets fetched here from 30 light years away equally at risk:
At times like this, a quick shot of sedative works wonders.
When I’m not being mysterious and secretive or trying to avoid chairs flung by Cheryl Anne (or trying to find out why she wants to do that), I’m an epidemiologist doing my plodding best to comb Araxes for what’s making people (it’s not just Cheryl Anne by a long shot) turn unpredictably violent.
That involves lurking around every inhabited spot of Araxes, one of the first things I did. (You can tell that from the snapshots, because I didn’t wear hijab that day, and spent my whole day’s water ration washing sand out of my hair later).
You have to admire the sense of humor of the folks who named this one place “Haven”, though during terraforming, it might have been a haven by default….
But I went as far as checking out orbital facilities where some of the minerals mined here, like “energon” are assayed and processed:
For trips like this, I don’t even try for “space pretty,” and keep a firm hand on a hypo gun full of “the last kiss good night”. Just in case “space pretty” is close enough….
Araxes has Firefly-class transports all over, just as, in medieval times, “obsolete” military transport aircraft were found all over Earth-that-was decades after the wars in which they were made and first used, hauling all sorts of things of a non-military nature, like tourists or cannabis sativa.
If you look out the window past me, you’ll see a Firefly parked alongside the shuttle I took back from the orbital mining station.
What’s making my patient and an increasing number of those who live on or pass through Araxes violently ill (in every sense) could have come here from off-planet, so I took the chance while this freighter’s crew was grabbing cold refreshment in the bars of Freeport to crawl under their ship and take samples around the hull and landing struts.
Gawd, what a sexy beast! Modern shuttles and freighters are more efficient, faster, and you can hang more guns and other deadly toys on them, but the Firefly transport just stirs something in a pilot’s soul.
One day, when I’m too old to be useful to the Moiety of Worlds or do any other chores that my older clone-sisters are too busy or exalted to do, I’ll buy one of these handsome brutes and.. well, smuggling’s about the only thing they do better than anything else.
You can touch a Firefly down anywhere, take off anywhere, send its shuttles out for side trips (or smuggle merchandise that’ll fit in a Firefly’s shuttle), and it’ll run on swift kicks and prayers.
And smuggling has a certain homely appeal compared to what I’m doing now.