Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: space

Befriend a Spectre Day

It is hard to have ghosts as friends. They do not see the point in eating like you do (did) and they can float for days staring at the same painting, really looking at it. They appreciate things differently from us. And bit by bit you fade away. Ghosts are deaf, because all matter passes through them, they are always in the vacuum of space. Your hearing gets worse and worse until you’re sure flesh-people are just mouthing things at you to mess with you but then someone drops a plate and: nothing. And you should have eaten days ago.



Space prodded the protective layer around the planet, and gathered itself like one takes a deep breath. It pushed through the atmosphere out over the Atlantic and the sea shimmered like the crystal it had just become. The cold travelled quicker than the nothing so when it reached the shores, freezing waves mid-break and snapping people in two, the people further inland had some warning. Space swallowed the half-people and the whole people then, the time of one panicked phone call to loved ones later.

Space engulfed all. It was satisfactory, for how long had it not waited for this?


“Find life.”

You were fitted with a chelonian, deliberate kind of intelligence, and all the cameras in the world. You left our system as a living thing; you taught us all we know about extrasolar space. And you fulfilled your mission; you found life.

You aimed your thruster; you set your course.

And you degraded. Micrometeors, particles of dust, stray gamma bursts, bugs that turned up after hundreds of years, data inconsistencies. So you turned into just another inert clump of metal, gathering ice on your journey to this other world. They did not see you coming.

And you crashed.

I Solve Your Fictional Problems with FTL-Drives

The post on Time Travel was a success! On account of how everybody loves technobabble, I will strive to make solving your fictional problems a regular occurence. Today’s letter comes from one @_TK_O (Ms. Osborne), who writes

Dear Mr Punkt,

My starship is not peppy enough, and I’m struggling to get it to go faster than light. However, all the fancy spaceships my friends own seem to be able to manage it! Tell me, how can I win the next big drag race in the Alpha Quadrant?


Ms. Osborne, T. Read the rest of this entry »

More on Conlanging

The language of the Cekno has evolved! (See /2012/12/14/thoughts-on-conlanging/ for context.)

With the help of @kerastion (Rob Mitchelmore), @drakekin, and @eleniturner (Lily Newman), the language is going places and it is exciting.

Prototype of what the language would look like, by @drakekin. Isn’t it pretty?

It still is not anything you can communicate with, but it has ideas! There is a Glossary of Definitions you can check out: /glossary/idiosyncratic-glossary/. You can also check out drakekin’s work at his, or his version of the glossary (with glyphs!) here: …pages/a-cekno-dictionary.html.

Some cool words from it are the word for light or photons, which I aim to make as diverse and difficult as the Greek λόγος (logos), or the Latin re. One can dream, right? Also the word for waiting, without knowing something is going to happen. It is almost always a retroactive verb, for saying things like ‘I waited for the reaper to come (having never heard of the reaper before he came)’ where the bracketed part is only implied. Can be used in present-tense if one is very careful.

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Life pulsated for one glorious moment and was then stubbed out forever.

Four million turns later the first of the evidence reached as far as it would reach, and the evidence of stubbing out reached mere moments later.

Four million turns after that the sun that had brought life to the world exploded, destroying all the physical evidence still left on a lonesome planet where hopeful electricity still struck the ground in vain.

Ten million turns later the system collapsed in on itself, sucking in the last of the artificial satellites, which still carried frozen life just on the off-chance.

Something Goes Wrong in Space, part III & NaNoWriMo Stuff

Okay so obviously I stopped being able to write the horror drabbles. This has mostly to do with me not being able to write on cue, I think. Anyways. EXCITING THINGS!

1. Drakekin is doing NaNoWriMo this year.

You might remember Drakekin as being the person with whom I developed the Something Goes Wrong in Space outline for. What is even more exciting than this thing being novelized is the fact that it will be up on the interwebs so that we can read it there! AND that there actually is a terrifying explanation behind That-Which-Speaks. Drakekin will post the things here, and it will be awesome. AND, I just renoticed, its working title is even more ominous than “Something Goes Wrong in Space”, y’all.


2. I am doing NaNoWriMo this year.

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Something Goes Wrong in Space (Idea) Part II

Last report on Something Goes Wrong in Space:

Here follows a non-chronological account of what goes wrong in space. And how.

Developed by me and Drakekin.


The Point of No Return (Incident T0)

This is the first scene. We start with a slow scene where the ISV Alhambra releases all the pods layer by layer, expertly navigating them through the fine mesh of the honeycomb framework. Our surviving characters are rather solemn, trained not to panic (as the ones who didn’t catch this training have all, ah, panicked and died).

Something humanoid but toadlike floats toward the giant dish, at the centre of which our characters are sitting, watching through thick crystal. Someone squeezes someone else’s shoulder as the thing bumps into the dish with a creaking, clanging sound that is heard through the metal. It climbs down a railing a long way, into the air chamber and closes the door, pressurises the chamber, and goes inside. This is Danetage. Ze deflates into a more human shape, with machinelike sounds, and quickly is presented with hir non-spacesuit and then hugged.

[number of crew awake: 41; sleeping: 220; dead: 419]


Incident T1

Danetage gets hugged, and then scooted off to an ‘interview’ with Solvieg. They’re in the climate controlled area to let Danetage feel as safe as possible; it is unpleasant for Sol, but she does not let that show. Not all of the conversation is shown: some of the time the camera is more focused on the despair of the crew and how they stare at the ‘fish skeleton’ their ship has become. (People shudder at that phrase.) Sometimes the dialogue of the Sol/Danetage conversation is muffled or muted to show the disorientation of the crew and machines. The gist of the conversation is that something went wrong, and if you people at the bridge hadn’t sodded up this wouldn’t be happening.

(Crewmembers who are still in space, die. All the ejections of pods crush them, some flung out into space, others crushed by two different pods, etc.)

The android ambassador ask how they can be of assistance. They are ignored. Kiloyield talks to them about nothingness, which gets grim.

Someone still thinks they can save most of the pods by radio-controlling them to steer toward the planet, and land in the sea (if the planet has a sea, which it might).

[number of crew awake: 37; sleeping: 220; dead: 423]


Incident T-negative-1

Wvera goes back to listening to the ansible and becomes worried it might be infected by That-Which-Speaks. She tries to discuss this with Irving, who is distraught by the fact that they have no radio with Antruth or Danetage, and also the report that the sunsail covering the hole in the deflector isn’t holding still – it’s doing what sunsails do, which is to move. He’s telling some engineers to put the deflector dish to spin to minimise the damage to the superstructure by having sunlight only pass every now and then. It is revealed, however, that he pseudo-remembers That-Which-Speaks’ voice.

Antruth and Danetage arrive at the level of the ship where the cargo spire main control node is. Danetage, while ze still has usable vocal cords and isn’t all blowfished up, asks if Antruth shouldn’t turn the radio on. But it’s a simple thing we’re doing and we don’t need more of that douchetrucks’ ‘jokes’, says Antruth. Danetage puffs up.

They start manually ejecting and restructuring pods to get into the ship. Eventually they are inside and have a double airtight seal and Antruth turns on an atmosphere pod and leaves the spacesuit. They have to keep tetrising the pods in order to move toward the shutting-off-node, which they are aware might have turned into something else once they get there, given the reshuffling of the computer.

As they’re walking through the honeycombs and finding the computer, Danetage – half deflated to speak and manoeuvre – freaks out about it being a brain. Antruth just wants to get this over with. But they’re people! Not more than, say, a fish is. Fish don’t feel pain, ‘Tage. Shuts it down slowly. The ship is still under the impression that they have arrived and it should unload, because Antruth’s radio was off since the joke that was in poor taste, and the bridge can’t control anything blindly. Antruth gets sucked out into vacuum and dies. Danetage finds the airtank and sucks some air from it, inflating hirself, thinking fuckfuckfuck.

[number of crew awake: 43; sleeping: 220; dead: 417]

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Something Goes Wrong in Space (Idea), part I

So, here is a thought-process detailing a space horror movie. Developed by me and Drakekin.

Let’s start at a moment in time defined as T101. There are 200 Ts in the movie, and the movie starts in the middle. It then goes forwards and backwards, with scene 1 being T101-T109, scene 2 being T91-T100.  Etc. I liked it when Ian M. Banks used this narrative technique in Use of Weapons and we shall copy it.

This post is mainly for sci-fi fans. There is lots of assuming that you, the reader, are familiar with hard sci-fi here.

Elevator Pitch

Something goes wrong in space.

The Spaceship Details

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