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Author Topic: A 'walking' city.  (Read 3340 times)
Hurricane Annie
Zeppelin Captain
*****
New Zealand New Zealand



« Reply #50 on: November 24, 2013, 08:49:23 pm »

Perhaps  a world that has been ravaged and left desolate by natural disaster. Possibly the result of  a 6 - 12 month volcanic   winter generated  by  the massive eruption of one of Earth's larger volcanoes  that has created an ash  cloud covering  more than half the Earth and extreme seismic activity.  Tsunami could occur . The  effect of this  would  lead to a   many months with out sunlight and toxic particles in the atmosphere , bringing  the temperature down to  far below 0o and rendering most of the world unlivable.  There would be  world wide famine and extensive  species extinction of  flora and fauna.

 Events such as  these have occurred  historically and are believed to have heavily reduced the world population.  Similar events on a smaller scale profoundly affected weather patterns  in the early 1800s and led to wide spread famine in the Northern Hemisphere
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #51 on: November 28, 2013, 12:37:11 am »

Well, here goes. The way my time's running this week and today, this may require a series of posts in order to present the idea in its entirety. I keep getting interrupted by dulcimer club business (Christmas is one of our busiest times of year for concerts, etc.) and by insurance marketplace help calls to get my account to open up, etc; it's a long story and a hard road with no really viable end in sight. Plus, I keep getting  called in to help my folks with transportation issues and around-the-house help (they're getting on in years and can't do a lot of what they used to).

First off: the Main Character. Let's call 'im Spatz, just because the name's been bouncing around in my popcorn popp- um, my brain for a while now. He's an itinerant engineer, a journeyman sort of position and a pretty much common one ofn the planet this occurs on.

Next, the planet. This is not Earth, but a place where the terrain is mostly wide, flat plains of either arid rock fields or lush grassland. Lots of rivers and streams as well, which means its not all flat and featureless. Man is able to stay in one place in the grasslands, as long as he stays behind the walls of his cities by night and farms during the day.  The arid lands are a different story. Resources grow there, but are transient; staying in one place is not an option, because of two main factors:
1. The constant wind, which can be as benign as a strong breeze or as horrifically violent as a Dune-style coriolis storm
2. Transient vegetation. There is rain here, as in the grasslands, and the land blooms when it occurs -- but only for about a week, and then it dies off.

The marginal areas where grasslands peter away into desert, and seasonally at planting and harvest seasons, are where the Harvester cities walk. There are hundreds of farm cities, and hundreds of Harvester cities. Much the same as with combine companies in the Real World, except that they also plant, The walking Harvester cities travel around, following the worldwide changes of seasons as they occur. When winter overtakes a city, it keeps moving, but does no harvest or planting business. If it has harvested products in mobile storage, and can spare any for trade, a city will conduct winter supplies business.

The Harvester cities do break down from time to time, and thus the Engineer corps was founded -- but it has been several generations since any Harvester has been reported inoperable, due to mnany factors, the most common being that each Harvester city has its own hereditary caretakers, everyone from outriders for planting or harvesting opportunity scouting to food production, to steersmen, to repair techs to keep the city running smoothly.

But there was a problem a few generations ago in the South Marginlands, on the shore of the Great Morass (An inland sea that has suffered much water depletion and is now a sea more of mud than anything else); a plague struck the area, and whole farmer cities died, their lands lying fallow and unproductive. Most of the harvesters that plied their trade in that area have left - save one, which threw a couple of linkages, unluckily enough at the same time that it's corps of repairmen all died from the plague. The rest of the people of the Harvestor, named Vetch Thirty-One, have kept going for several generations, constantly training teh next generation to do their hereditary jobs just in case the city is fixed, "someday." (somewhat the same as a certain Doctor Who series of episodes, the one where Adric joins Tom Baker's bunch. It's been so long since I've seen it that the name slips my mind).

Along comes Spatz, the first journeyman engineer in several generations, the first of what will in a few short years become a whole tide of such. You can probably guess the rest, but I'll elaborate some more in a little while; the supper call is tugging at my stomach...
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Walk softly and carry a big banjo...

""quid statis aspicientes in infernum"
Arabella Periscope
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States


Edwardian summer


« Reply #52 on: November 28, 2013, 01:06:49 am »

Well, that's tantalizing.  What happens next?  Never mind about supper, you said you needed to lose weight!
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Kenneth: 'If you're so hot, you can tell me how to say she has ideas above her station.'
Brian:'Oh yes, I forgot. It's fairly easy, old boy.
Elle a des idees au-dessus de sa gare.'
Kenneth: 'Idiot.  It's not that kind of station.'

Terence Rattigan 'French Without Tears.'
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2013, 02:24:37 am »

Back for a short bit. Where were we... Ah, yes. Along comes Spatz, who has been travelling the planet around, keeping himself in work and reasonably well-fed.He's heard the rumors of a Harvester stranded on the shore of the Great Morass, and being both a curious sort, and a bit of a samaritan, he works his way southward, repairing various problems on the oldest harvesters, which are beginning to show their age.

I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but the Harvester cities use Strandbeest-style tech in order to move. The oldest are wind-powered (As is Vetch 31), as Mr. Jansen's 'organism' designs were, but the newer ones use steam, and in the youngest cases, Internal combustion to produce electrical power to run what are called the Impetus legs, which provide the necessary energy to cause the city to move. The diesel cities, and several of the steam variety, are able to move in reverse by means of special gearing for the purpose, while older cities such as Vetch 31 must interrupt all legs and 'trick' the system into running backwards, much as on some of the older RL steam locomotives.

Anyhow. Spatz works his way south, and finally runs out of machines and cities to repair or figure workarounds for. Still wanting to find "the lost harvester," he presses on, rationing his small store of trail food and sleeping rough when he has to, avoiding the spooky, empty shells of teh plague citiew and marvelling at the unworked state of teh fields. some produce grows wild in such places, but not nearly on the same scale as when they were tilled and watched over every day.

Finally, on the last day of teh autumn harvest season, he sees the muddy Great Morass, adn a lone Harvester City standing on a knoll above smallish ruin of a Farmer city. swmoke from cook and blacksmithing fires rise up from the Havester as he approaches, and the Outriders find Spatz,, find out why he is there, and take him back to Vetch 31 with them. One thing leads to another, and soon he is working to repair the thrown Impetus Strut and rebuild the spinal multisail, which used the wind to push the city along, or in cases of low wind velocity, to wave aound in said breeze, providing high-torque driving force through specially-designed cranks. Soon the impetus strut is repaired, and the first of teh driving winter winds begins to push the city forward, despite the lack of teh spinal sail.

More to follow.

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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2013, 03:35:27 am »

Spatz finds love, becomes the replacement patriarch of the Repairmen, and draws new repairmen from dissatisfied Steersmn, food production, and injured outriders. according to prior arrangement, when Vetch 31 makes its third profit, Spatz goes on his way and is a wanderer once again, like the stranger in an old western. On to a new chapter.

Thus, the walking city is just one chapter in a larger volume, or series of stories. Maybe there'd be other walking cities, maybe not. Perhaps he rejpoins his newfound people when their city comes striding by a predetermined meeting place.

Well, that's tantalizing.  What happens next?  Never mind about supper, you said you needed to lose weight!





True, but one still needs to keep life & soul together...
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hardlec
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Solutions do not need Problems


« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2013, 06:03:59 pm »

This is a good start to a story.  The characters seem interesting, and describing the city in bits and pieces as the engineer discovers them would be awesome. 

As a personal note:  I hate infernal err internal combustion engines.  Steam Turbines could evolve to gas turbines and omit the ICE.

As a help, not a plug, NBOS sells a software package Fractal World Explorer and Astrosynthesis that let you design a galaxy down to a doghouse.  Even with no talent I have made published maps and drawings with it.  It can be a big help.
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Whatever happens we have got
The Maxim gun and they have not;
Technology is no substitute for Valor
Both are true.
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2013, 07:46:06 pm »

I might have to check that out, Thanks!
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