Safety

prophylock (n.): Used primarily by free traders, a prophylock is a collapsible docking module used when rendezvousing with untrusted vessels for cargo transfer. Similar to a standard docking module, a prophylock is a cylinder with an IUSI-P or IUSI-F androgynous adapter on each end, one to attach to the host starship and one to dock with the foreign starship.

The prophylock, however, has near its outboard end an armored barrier which prohibits the passage of sophonts, equipped with a secure passage (complete with mechanical interlocks preventing both sides from being opened simultaneously, and sampling systems for testing the contents before opening the inner door) through which the transfers may take place. In the event that both vessels are using prophylocks, the secure passage systems are designed to allow transfers from one to the other without direct integration, but also without requiring anyone to occupy the ‘tween-lock volume.

Rather than the direct data systems connection of a standard IUSI adapter, the prophylock connects the foreign data bus to a limited-functionality terminal, permitting communication and negotiation to take place without information risk.

Finally, the outboard end of the prophylock is equipped, for the case in which a lack of trust should turn out to be justified, with an explosive collar to sever the outboard androgynous adapter, thus reliably breaking the connection between vessels, along with solid-fuel jettison rockets to push the host vessel back immediately upon collar detonation, shortening the time to safe burn clearance as much as possible.

Fly safe. Dock safer.

– A Star Traveller’s Dictionary


(Yes, I was thinking of Out of Gas when I wrote this one…)

Trope-a-Day: Thrown Out the Airlock

Thrown Out The Airlock: While purportedly an old space tradition to deal with pirates and mutineers, in practice, the penalties attached to littering anywhere remotely close to a trafficked orbit and the sheer waste of organic compounds are more than enough to persuade most salty spacedogs to Just Shoot ‘Em… or at the very least, throw ’em out there on a line so you can get ’em back.  A few of the dimmer and more brutal kind of pirates – and slavers, et. al, who really don’t want to get caught with their cargo – excepted.

Firing the buggers out of a missile tube, warhead included, or deliberately aiming them into a decaying orbit (in this case with suit), on the other hand… that’s been known to happen.  But it’s still kind of a gratuitous way to make a point, even to the aforementioned dim and brutal pirates and slavers, and definitely still something regarded as an atrocity, if a minor one.

Of course, the average naval anti-piracy patrol doesn’t have to pick up after the aftermath of that sort of pirate very often before its commanders are feeling just a mite atrocious…

Darkness Within (4): Air!

MET 184-17-12

Air!

Delicious air!

…well, no, not delicious air, but I get ahead of myself. I made accessing the for’ard mess my third priority after rigging the air feed for the pod, rigging the k-blanket, and pulling the hardware, because rebuilding these scraps into an airlock-style depressurizer will go a lot more smoothly without suit gloves on, even skinsuit gloves.

Here’s how you build an airlock out of a rescue ball. First, pull out your pocket laser cutter, and chop it in half. (Try not to cringe too much at the thought of cutting one of your vacuum-tight spaces apart, despite the fact that if you’re even contemplating this crazy plan you must be almost out of things that’ll hold air in the first place.) Make sure the entrance flap is in the middle of one of the halves. Stash the other half for later.

Then you need a tube of bioglue, or whatever vacuum-safe glue you have handy, preferably of the kind that sticks to itself, too, as well as metal because you want a good, thick bead of the stuff all around the spacetight door you’re using as the other end of your airlock that you’re going to push the cut edge of the ball down into. Once that sets, slather another layer on top of that, because you need to be damn sure the bond will hold pressure. You now have a door with a bag on it.

Check your work.

Climb into the bag, and seal the flap of the rescue ball. Check that it’s sealed properly. Now check your work again.

Offer up your most profound and fervent prayers to Mahánárel and Athnéël, who between them look after engineers, gamblers, and the poor bastards who have to be both at the same time.

Then open the spacetight door, and hang onto the wall while you do, because air will be coming out in a hurry, and the wire-and-tape-job you just rigged will be under enough stress inflating with a bang without you falling ass-over on it, too.

Now step inside, and close the spacetight door again. Feel greatly relieved that this insane plan worked at all and that you didn’t manage to vent all that precious oxygen overboard. You may permit yourself a caper or two.

Suffice it to say: it worked. Once. I don’t feel confident enough in its reliability to use it more than once, so unless the situation changes, I’ll be staying in here until this air fouls; the air that escaped into the ball is going to have to be written off, but that’s better than all of it.

As far as the local situation goes: the mess is surprisingly orderly; the stowages mostly held. Some floaters to clean up, but not too many. The food situation may be a little better than I thought, but that’ll have to wait on inventory.The telltale on the emergency hatchway down-deck confirms there’s no air below me in the server room.

Finally, I must now formally log confirmation of the temporary deaths of Lieutenant Leresif Inachios, Sailing Master, and Sublieutenant Alwyn Lelad, Power/Thermal Engineer, present in the for’ard mess deck at the time of the recorded impacts, who both appear to have been killed instantly by massive kinetic trauma. As is standard protocol, I have removed and taken possession of the vector stacks and command keys of each officer, and recorded this in the flight systems log.

(I also took possession of Leresif’s locket. He’d never forgive himself if he lost that.)

And Don’t Hold Your Breath (It Never Helps)

WARNING: AIRLOCK SAFETY PROCEDURES

  1. Personnel must wear vacuum suits before exiting the starship if so indicated by crimson-caution telltales. (Any exceptions must possess “vacuum-capable” endorsement countersigned by Environmental Systems Engineer.) Follow instructions posted in airlock chamber.

  2. In an emergency, caution enforcement system may be disabled by opening emergency controls panel. (Alarm will sound in DCC.) Follow procedures posted within. Always attempt egress through interior hatch first, exterior hatch second.

DO NOT BYPASS NORMAL CYCLING

Do not ignore any amber-test or crimson-caution telltales. Spacetight doors may not have properly sealed and/or chamber may not have reached safe pressure differential. Always wait for blue-go “disembark” indicator before trying to exit.

When using emergency controls, always check “hatch sealed” test lights and manual indicators before using manual pressurization override controls. As you proceed, constantly monitor pressurization and differential-pressure gauges, located within emergency controls panel.

In the event of damage or mechanical failure, spare parts and tools for emergency repairs are located beneath the emergency controls panel secondary door.