Rimworld snippet…

A question on this one… I have an attack on Estrella in this sequence. Is it believable or not? And the reaction.


Eleven days later, Ghost dropped back into real space in Epsilon, a day earlier than Danny expected. Turning to Ish, he smiled and said, “Congratulations. We’re four days earlier than I’ve heard of anyone outside a courier ship making the transit.” Keying the radio, he said, “Epsilon control, Ghost transiting to Centauri jump point.”

Epsilon Control replied, “Ghost is cleared high pass two direct Centauri hyper point. ETA?”

Ish said, “Twenty divs. And you can thank Efrot and Nyx. I did nothing.”

Danny nodded, “Epsilon, Ghost copies high pass two direct. Twenty divs in route.”

Ghost, local system time is thirteen. Your ETA will be zero nine, maintain this frequency, contact Epsilon departure one div prior to hyper point.”

Danny nodded as Estrella reset the local clock on the system screen. “Copied ETA zero nine local, maintain this frequency, contact departure one div prior. Turning to high pass two route at this time.”

“Epsilon Control out.”

Danny got up and stretched. “Essie, you have the bridge. I need some breakfast and it looks like we’ve got a five div difference between ship time and local.”

Estrella snarked, “Simple math. Yes, five divs and I have the bridge as usual. On course.”

Ish snorted as he got up. “You deserved that, Captain.”

Danny beat Ish to the mess by a few steps, and fell in line behind the passengers, took his plate of eggs and a thing Tao called hash, that didn’t look good but tasted surprisingly good. Ish, Adrion, and Vic joined him, and he got a quick update on ship status as Efrot and Nik walked in together. “That’s an odd couple,” Adrion said.

Vic chuckled. “Apparently, they’ve bonded over electrical systems. I overheard them talking a couple of shifts ago and it was way over my head. They were saying something about power runs, shunts, and something else that I really didn’t understand.”

Danny nodded as he finished his breakfast. “Anything else odd that anybody noticed?”

Adrion grimaced. “Well, our pax are keeping to themselves. They never leave the science bay to do anything other than eat. And Atool is now sitting with Keelor, and Scheuller just glares at both of them. His sycophants are ignoring them too. And Atool has never been back in the bays, Keelor only once, and Schueller chased him out. He wasn’t happy when I stayed in the bay while he was looking at the drive plates either.”

Danny blew out a breath. “Not my circus, not my nearmonkeys. As long as they…do nothing stupid, just watch them.”

Vic laughed. “Oh yeah, that’s something else Scheuller doesn’t like is that Moe and his crew are always patrolling the ship. Moe says they get real quiet when any of his crew are seen down there.”

Biting his lip, Danny said, “Well, they…just watch them.”


Nineteen days later, two days from Centauri, at zero three ship time, Estrella noted Scheuller coming out of his cabin, seeming to stagger a bit as he moved aft. She watched as he came up to the main deck and headed for engineering. She keyed the IC, “Nyx, make sure your hatch is secure. Scheuller is acting strangely and coming aft toward your spaces.”

Nyx responded immediately. “Hatch is secure, Estrella. He nor any of the others has ever tried to come back here.” She heard the clicking of switches, and Nyx added, “He…does not look right. I do not know why.”

Estrella had her simulacrum already moving from its charging cubby as she determined to put a physical presence near him, just in case. Meanwhile, she scanned the cameras to see where Curley was on his routine patrol. It only took her two segs to get to the cross passage and start aft toward the engineering hatch Scheuller was pounding on, screaming to be let in. She keyed the PA for the passageway where Curley was and said, “Curley, respond to engineering hatch. Scheuller is acting strangely.” She thought about having Ish leave the bridge, but quickly keyed the captain’s cabin. “Captain, Scheuller is acting strangely and pounding on the engineering hatch. I am almost there, and Curley is responding.”

Danny jolted awake and cursed as he pulled on a shipsuit, slipped his pistol in his pocket and replied, “Have Ish close and seal the bridge. I’ll be there as soon as I can.” He took off at a run, mumbling under his breath as he cursed the distance he had to cover. I think Essie can handle it, at least with Curley’s help. Why the hell didn’t she let me know earlier? Dammit.

Estrella strode down the passageway and said loudly, “What do you think you’re doing?”

Scheuller turned to face her, his face flushed and eyes wild. “I’ma see what they done to my quipment. No way this piece o’shit can fly thish fas.”

Her receptors picked up the odor of alcohol from Scheuller’s body odor and snapped, “You are drunk. You need to return to your cabin immediately.”

Scheuller laughed, lunged for her and grabbed her shoulder. “Wher you bin hidin? You tha little shit’s bisch?” He shook her and laughed again as he pulled her toward him. “I’ll shew you a goo tim!”

Estrella simulacrum performed a heuristic analysis of threat/risk profiles in a millisecond and reacted according to its built-in programming by grabbing Scheuller’s wrist and physically removing it from where it was pawing at her chest. The next step was providing a safe distance from the threat, and the simulacrum threw Scheuller down the passageway using the arm as a lever, breaking it in three places.

Danny and Curley arrived at the head of the passageway in time to see Scheuller bounce off the overhead and land crumpled on the deck a few feet in front of them with a scream of pain. Danny jumped over him as he said, “Curley, secure him!” He ran down to where Estrella stood and stopped. “Are you alright?”

Estrella cocked her head as she swept her hair out of her face. Calmly, she said, “I reacted to the threat he provided. I might have overreacted a bit, I have never practiced disengagement. He is drunk and refused to return to his cabin.”

Danny nodded. “I think just a bit excessive, and practice might be appropriate, if we can figure out how to do that. Why did you throw him at us?”

“I was removing the threat from proximity to me.”

Danny turned and said, “Well, let’s see how bad you damaged him.” They strolled back down the passageway toward Scheuller, who stopped moaning and started scrabbling backward using his feet.

“Keep tha crazy bisch way from me! She try kill me!”

Curley stopped his scrabbling by the simple expedient of pointing his pistol between Scheuller’s eyes as his Gal Trans spit, “Stop! If you continue, I will happily shoot you in the face.” The rippling smile on Curley’s Canid face and growl might have also contributed to Scheuller stopping short and trying to roll to face the bulkhead.

Danny looked at his right arm, sighed, and said, “Well, looks like at least two breaks. Guess we better get him to the med box.”

Estrella said, “Grav stretcher is nearly there. I woke Nik, and he is prepping the med box.”

Twenty segs later, with Scheuller safely ensconce in the med box with Nik monitoring it, Danny met with the rest of the St. George team in the mess. He didn’t pull any punches as he said, “Scheuller attacked one of our crew after attempting to breach the engineering spaces. Scheuller appeared to be drunk and has a broken shoulder, arm, and wrist. He is currently in the med box being treated. Who is the next senior of your group?”

A babble of conversation broke out as the St. George humans started arguing. Danny noted that Atool and Keelor sat separately and said nothing, but Keelor appeared to be smiling. After a few segs, Keelor finally said, “I believe I am senior. Does anyone dispute that?” Atool smiled as the three humans grumbled but finally nodded. “What is your desire, Captain?”

Danny looked up at the overhead, then replied. “Well, obviously Scheuller will be put off the ship as soon as possible. We are…three days out of Centauri, so we will deviate to the nearest station and put him off there. We will make a report to GalPat and it will be up to them what happens next. I would like you, Keelor, to accompany me while I search Scheuller’s cabin to determine what he had concealed that he was drinking.” He held up his hand, “I know people drink. Hell, I drink, but not to the excess he exhibited.” Well, not anymore, and I never attacked anyone, much less a woman even when I was drunk.

Keelor nodded. “That is acceptable. Siegfried, Rashid, Bell, you are all qualified to perform the installation of the drive plates, are you not?”

The three of them nodded sullenly, and Rashid replied, “We are, but…Scheuller is the only one certified to sign off on the installation.”

Adrion snorted. “So, any ship that installs a spare drive plate without Scheuller there is not a certified installation?”

Rashid looked up at Adrion. “That…technically, either Scheuller or one of the other troubleshooters should certify installations. That is part of the contract for using St. George drive plates,” he hissed.

Danny laughed at the absurdity of the situation. “You realize you’re riding on a ship with two of your drive plates that I installed with only a mech for assistance, and never heard a word about having to have anything concerning either the engine upgrade or the drive plates certified, and that was four years ago.”

The three of them looked at each other as Atool laughed. “Good job, you did. Blow up, we haven’t. Good with this, I am.”

Keelor glanced at Danny with an odd look in his eyes, as he said, “Perhaps we should have Siegfried accompany us, that way he can collect Scheuller’s property and pack it for the transfer.”

Danny replied, “Good idea. Let’s go now, since everybody is here. I would appreciate it if the rest of you remained here until we are done.”

Moe stepped off the bulkhead where he had been leaning. His GalTrans chittered, “I will ensure no one leaves, Captain.” His lip curling grin caused Rashid and Bell to shrink back in their seats as Danny, Keelor and Siegfried left the mess.

Danny looked up at the overhead, “Essie, unlock Scheuller’s cabin door, please.”

She replied over the PA, “Unlocked, Captain.”

Danny opened the door and almost gagged at the stink. The lights were on, and a quarter of a bottle of bright red liquid sat on the desk next to the rack. Siegfried murmured, “Deity damn. Hot Cherry.”

Danny looked sharply at him as Estrella said over the PA, “Hot Cherry is a mixture of amphetamines and pure grain alcohol. It overcomes anti-nausea and anti-drunk medication, prolong the drunk, and prevent liver damage. It is not a legal beverage, usually produced by underground dealers and sold surreptitiously in lower-class bars by the shot.”

The search turned up two more full bottles in the bottom of Scheuller’s luggage, and Danny removed them after recording their location on his lapel cam. Siegfried had packed the clothing in the luggage, and had to step into the fresher to wash his hands, after touching the items. Keelor simply stood by the door, shaking his head sadly. He finally said, “This could explain much, but that is not my position. I do feel sorry for him, as this will cost him his job. St. George cannot afford to have a person like this in a leadership position.”

Danny followed the two of them out of the cabin and said, “Essie, send the mech to do a deep clean and sanitize on this cabin.” Turning to Keelor and Siegfried, he added, “It’s all on him. If he hadn’t gotten out of control this morning, we might never have known he had, has an issue.”

Siegfried asked, “What are you going to do with the…alcohol?”

Danny quirked his lip, “Turn it over to GalPat. It is smuggling, if nothing else.”


Three days later, Ghost snuggled up to a short-term module at Centauri Alpha Station and were met by a GalPat lieutenant, a sergeant, and two troopers. Danny handed off the Hot Cherry, a very subdued Scheuller, his arm and shoulder still in a healing matrix, his luggage, and squirted a vid to the lieutenant of the attack in the passageway. He simply reported that Scheuller had attacked one of the crew, but they would pursue no charges. The GalPat lieutenant had nodded, saying the Hot Cherry was enough to get Scheuller charged with smuggling.

A div later they were back underway to Antares and Tejas Station. Five days out, Vic walked onto the bridge shaking his head. “The St. George folks aren’t talking at all. I even tried to get them to answer questions and they shut up and went back to their cabins.”

“Not much we can do,” Danny said, “After all, they have a vested interest in not being caught out on something like this.”

Estrella interrupted, “Since the incident with Scheuller, I have been monitoring the lounge they are using. This might be of interest, since I have been using key word alerts.”

Danny looked up curiously. “You what?”

“I felt it necessary to protect you and the ship, Captain.”

A vid popped onto the main screen. Keelor asked, “Rashid, what is your group not telling me?”

Rashid glanced at Siegfried and Bell before saying, “Well, Scheuller…” He shook his head. “The drive plates might have delaminated. Apparently, we had one lot of plates that got out of the plant with an internal issue that apparently shows up in the first thousand divs due to voids in the internal lamination.”

Keelor reeled back. “What do you mean? We should have detected that!”

Bell said, “According to Scheuller, it doesn’t show up on any quality checks your group does at the plant. Something about one spray nozzle…burping…during the laminate spray process. We didn’t catch it for four weeks. He said he saw it on a set of plates that came back to the plant and figured it out six months ago.”

Keelor leaned forward. “Who knows about this?”

Bell shook his head. “Maybe the bosses, but nothing’s been put out to customers.”

The vid stopped and Estrella said, “That was when Keelor got up and left. There hasn’t been another conversation about it.”

Danny cocked his head. “That might explain why he’s been so jumpy.”

Vic snapped. “I can’t believe…no, maybe I can. That…”

Danny grimaced. “What are the odds you got four of that lot?”

Vic slumped on the navigator’s couch. “Apparently pretty damned high, our maintenance folks buy in bulk for the discount, I think twenty plates at a time, and they bought twenty plates six months ago. The plates on Leningrad were replaced two months ago at twenty thousand divs. So, they currently had…right around nine hundred divs on them when they failed. And now the second set failed with less than three hundred divs on them.”

“Well, that should mean St. George owes you some credits, doesn’t it?”

Vic’s smile wasn’t pretty. “You bet your ass they do, quite a few million credits. But the normal procedure is to jettison the used plates into the sun because of the radiation coming off them, so no proof.”

Danny, still caught up in the possibility of failure, looked up horrified. “Deity! That…if one failed during a jump or in hyper…”


“How could they do that and live with themselves?”

Vic chuckled darkly, “It’s all about business. A few ships lost is minor compared to the loss of prestige and loss of income St. George would suffer for admitting they let a substandard product get out the door. They’re not the only ones that manufacture them now. De Perez, Kaepka, and Highland also manufacture drive plates. St. George is just cheaper because of volume, but quality and reliability play into that equation.”

Danny shivered. “Well, we’ll know something in a little over five days.”

Estrella said, “Five days, nineteen divs, and twenty-one segs. Precision, Captain.”

Danny looked at the overhead as Vic turned a laugh into a cough. “Smart ass AIs. I swear,” Danny sighed.


Ghost dropped into the system and Danny called Tejas Station, since there wasn’t a GalPat controller in the system. “Tejas, Ghost, inbound from Centauri hyper point. ETA seventeen divs.”

Ghost, Tejas approach. You are cleared direct to the station. Interrogative your cargo?”

“Spare plates and install crew for Krasnov ship Leningrad.”

“Roger Ghost, we’ll put you at pier three, next to them. Be advised, nothing in system but local shuttles at this time, no shipping expected for the next three days.”

Danny looked over at Ish. “Pier? What the hell is that?”

Ish snorted. “Tejas is an old station. Really old. Over two hundred years old, they don’t have modules, they have arms like ship piers from…a water world. You come alongside them and they tractor you to the pier. Match up your airlock to theirs, or you get to deal with a wobbly…” Ish saw Danny’s blank expression and chuckled. “A wobbly is a tube that is flexible enough to mate with most airlocks. The issue is that very flexibility, because they wobble when you walk through them.”

Adrion, Nik, and Vic walked onto the bridge, and Adrion asked, “We got a tie up yet?”

Danny nodded. “Pier three.”

Estrella said, “Captain, you left Tejas Station waiting, you might want to say you accept that location and our requirements.”

Danny hung his head. “You’re right. Standby one, guys.” He keyed the radio, “Ah, Tejas, copy pier three. That is acceptable. I have five pax for the install team that may want to bunk on station. Do you have the capability to resupply us?”

Ghost, Tejas, we can resupply. It ain’t going to be fancy, but we can provide.”

Adrion shook his head. “Definitely won’t be fancy. This system is primarily mining. Only one planet even close to Goldilocks, and they’re in domes down there to provide everything for the miners. They grow pretty much all the edibles in the domes and provide an R and R site for the miners to burn off credits every six months.”

Danny once again wondered at Adrion’s seeming inexhaustible knowledge base. Is there any place Adrion hasn’t been? We are…on the butt end of civilization here, not the rim, per se, but getting there. Yet he knows more than he should, or does he? What the hell is his background? Seventeen divs later, he eased Ghost against the things sticking out from the pier. “What the hell are those?”

Ish glanced up at the main screen. “They are called camels. They are designed to protect the side of the ship.” He gargled a laugh. “Before you ask, no I don’t know why.”

Danny threw up his hands. “I give up. At least if I ever see something like this again, I’ll know what I’m getting into.”

Tejas Station came over the radio, “Tractoring.” They felt a lurch and a thump, and Tejas Station said, “Docked. You may stay on ship’s power, or we can hook you to station power for a fee.”

Danny snorted. “Ah, Tejas, we’ll stay on ship’s power. Standing by for connection to one of our airlocks.”

“Tube is being extended now to your port aft airlock. Wait, out.” Ten segs later, Tejas Station said, “Mated. You are cleared to access the station.”

“Thank you, Tejas.” Danny keyed the PA, “Adrion, check the pressure on the port aft airlock. They cleared us onto the station if we match pressure. Passengers are cleared to depart.”

Adrion responded, “Pressures match. Cracking airlock now. I’ll ask Moe to assume the watch at the end of the wobbly.”


Vic stepped onto the bridge. “Danny, I want those drive plates brought back. Can you do that?”

Danny bit his lip. “Well, they have been irradiated. It depends on how…wait…Efrot and Nyx are Talasian. They can handle…let me check.” He keyed the IC. “Efrot or Nyx, can one of you come to the bridge, please?”

A moment later, Nyx replied, “On the way, Captain.”

When Nyx got to the bridge, Danny asked, “Nyx, I know you two can handle radiation. The question is, can we safely handle and haul two used drive plates back to…”

“Earth,” Vic said.

Nyx thought for a couple of seconds, and said, “Yes, if we load them outboard against the bay door and no one other than the two of us goes in the bay. And we could load them if there is a hardened anti-grav available.”

Danny looked at Vic. “Are you sure?”

Vic nodded emphatically. “Yes! That way I’ll have proof if it comes to a court suit that there was a known issue with the plates.” He turned to Estrella, “Can I send a message back to earth to have it relayed to the master on Leningrad to not jettison the plates?”

Estrella nodded. “Of course. Tell me what you want in the message, and I will send it immediately.” Vic and Estrella chatted for a few moments, and she finally said, “I sent your message. Now the question is will it make it back here in time for the crew to take action.”

Danny perked up. “Speaking of actions, I’d like to send Efrot and Nyx over to see the problem and get some readings if they are going to have to load them.”

Vic said, “Engineer to engineer. Don’t even involve Captain Kana, he’ll have other things he’s dealing with.”


The next day, Efrot and Nyx met the Leningrad’s engineer at the airlock and were quickly escorted aboard. “Brett Ava, I’m the CHENG for Leningrad. I didn’t realize you guys were Talasians, if I had, I’d have asked for you to come yesterday.” He led them through the cavernous freighter and up to engineering where they met the St. George team.

Efrot nodded to Keelor and Atool and said, “We just wanted to get a look at the plates in situ.”

Keelor was in the process of suiting up and said, “I will be happy to show you and get your input as soon as Brett suits up.”

A few segs later, they stood in the drive tunnel, high-intensity lighting showing the top of the starboard drive plate. Keelor said, “Any idea what is wrong?”

Efrot and Nyx looked at each other and Efrot took off his gloves, startling both Keelor and Ava. “It is fine, this is low radiation compared to what we are used to. Also, I can sense radiation.” Running his hands over the plate, he said, “Every dark spot has a higher level of radiation.” He got to the far end and looked back down the plate. “Whatever caused it was intermittent, but my guess is a void formed at each one of those spots and focused the radiation.”

Nyx turned to Ava. “What indications were you receiving?”

Ava said, “It was…odd. Like a…popping sound, and it increased as the power was applied. You could see the power imbalance between the port and starboard plates, and the synchronization got worse and worse.” He shook his head. “Same thing that happened on the other plates until the point I told the captain we could come apart if we tried to transition with that much imbalance.”

Efrot asked, “Does the other plate show the same spots?”

Keelor nodded and Ava said, “Both the other plates did too.”

Nyx asked, “Did you keep them?”

Ava snorted. “Deity no! Jettisoned them into the sun, just like we’ll do these. The radhaz is too high!”

(C) JL Curtis 2023 All Rights Reserved


Rimworld snippet… — 31 Comments

  1. “Danny shivered. “Well, we’ll know something in A little over five days.””
    – Need to decapitalize the A.

    Good snippet. Believable action and reaction. And now we know a bit about why he was being such a pompous jerk. Besides natural inclination, that is.

  2. The self defense move seems plausible to me. But I haven’t been in an altercation in over 42 years since I gave up Hot Cherry! lol Hot Cherry sounds like something I would have drank back in the day. Trap the hand on the chest with one hand, pivot while while hyper extending the elbow with the palm of the other hand, and then do the throw of your choice. Or other things. Or something like that. I can picture it in my head.
    Great chapter as always. Looking forward to the next book!

  3. The setup for the fight is believable (drunkenness leading to inappropriate behaviour) but the response has problems.

    Scheuller is simply drunk and disorderly, he doesn’t have (in hand) weapons, tools, or other devices that could harm the ship, the crew, or Estrella.

    You’ve established that Estrella is capable of evaluating the situation (and the threat presumably) very quickly: “Estrella simulacrum performed a heuristic analysis of threat/risk profiles in a millisecond…” Also in other spots, you draw attention to her precision and attention to detail.

    Through the Estrella simulacrum’s physical response to Scheuller, you’ve established that it is capable of exerting strength and speed to overpower a human male with ease, even one drunk and on amphetamines. (If you were going for the feel of the PCP-addled goblin that law enforcement can’t easily subdue because the goblin is feeling no pain and exhibiting super-human strength, then Estrella’s capabilities need to be dialed back quite a bit to make that threat seem credible.)

    So if Estrella is this much of a decision making and physical “Mary Sue”, why is the response so disproportionate? Are there not simple “subdue, restrain, detain” protocols in place? Shouldn’t there be?

    Breaking a passenger’s arm in three places in response to “drunk and disorderly” is going to raise trust questions in the mind of both passengers and crew. If that’s a plot point for later, carry on, but it will need to be addressed.

  4. Additional:

    Brett Ava, I’m the CHING for Leningrad.

    CHING -> CHENG ? (Was “Chief of Engineering” what you were going for here?)

  5. The description of Hot Cherry is a little awkward.
    I think Estrella’s response being overkill is a good thing – it shows she is new to these situations and having a body.
    The old station and it’s differences is a neat touch.

  6. A.G. Tiger has the mechanics of the action right, with Estrellas’ right hand taking his right and twisting it away from her, then striking his upper arm to send him down the passage. Estrella should have better force control though. Breaking the wrist could just happen but the upper arm would be excessive. It would be at the upper end of reasonable for her to have dislocated his shoulder pushing him away using his arm as a lever. It is likely that Estrella does not have actual practice in hand-to-hand combat in her simulacrum, and could have calibration of force issues.
    Schuller might be a little more demanding and authoritarian in his initial appearance at the engineering hatch. “Those are MY drive plates,” etc, to emphasize his lack of reason / impairment.
    Great snippet. Looking forward to the book. John

    • I don’t know. If Danny had seen the drunk put his hands on Estrella, and heard what he said, Danny would have probably broken his arm in severl places as well. You don’t put your hands on the crew.

  7. She’s newer at this than de Prrez and his set. Her simulacrum is still in train and learn mode for this. The revisions read very well … and Estrella couldn’t be certain about getting a bug and cyber attack next.

  8. As it reads now, the response to the attack by a simulacrum that knows the theory of ECQB but has never practiced it, it’s fine, especially if followed up later with scenes or references to actual practice.
    (I’m having MAG80 flashbacks, LOL.)

    “Twenty segs later, with Scheuller safely ensconceD in the med box…”

    “Hot Cherry is a mixture of amphetamines and pure grain alcohol. It overcomes anti-nausea and anti-drunk medication, prolong the drunk, and prevent liver damage…”
    concur this is awkward, try “…anti-nausea and anti-intoxication medications, prolongs intoxication, and prevents liver disease…”

  9. Maybe two incongruities.

    1. Given her ability to assess and analyse movement at speeds well beyond human reaction time – how did Schuller manage to lay a hand on her? Permitting him to do so does not fit well with the subsequent need to create distance.

    2. Given that a simulacrum is less liable to irreparable damage – and knows it – the need to react in that fashion is not obvious.

    Schuller’s humiliation at being physically helpless in the hands of a small “woman”, might meet the reader’s desire for deserved consequences, while also fitting the scenario more appropriately.

    But I’m no writer.

    • Letting Schueller to lay a hand on her then allowed her to manhandle him. Which he completely deserved, for being a threat to both her and the ship. Which he obviously was.

      It was a very neat way to tie up the most obvious threat, handed to her by the threat himself.

      • That would be entrapment, not reaction…. Maybe that’s appropriate, but the circumstances might need to be altered to make it reasonable.

        A drunk needs to be restrained. A greater threat may need to be disabled, but the threat needs to be established and the reason for hiding your awareness of that threat, ditto.

  10. What exactly are the time units for this universe again?

    Thirteen to nine being equal to twenty divs seems to say that there are twenty four divs to a day. If that’s the case why have new units and not use hours and minutes?

    • Segs = minutes, divs = hours. And it ‘should’ be 24 divs/day. And yes, I could have used hours/minutes, but I wanted something ‘different’… sigh

      • Oh, OK, my mistake.

        I got the impression from some of your earlier “reports from the Rimworld” that segs and divs were sort of a move towards decimal time keeping, where segs were analagous to minutes but massaged longer to mean 10 segs make a div, and 10 divs make a day.

        I don’t know WHY I thought that, though.

  11. I’m a bit confused, too, as to how Essie realized she was being attacked only after being grabbed and pawed. She’s always so ahead of the curve in other situations. Plus, there’s a physics problem to throwing a body and we know she solves those for fun. If she overreacts because she misunderstood the application of leverage from a physical experience perspective that’s one thing, but accidentally applying a massively excessive quantity of brute force seems out of character. …unless is was “accidental” and she was doing it because she’d decided Schueller needed, um, “bothandling.”

  12. I don’t know. If Danny had seen the drunk put his hands on Estrella, and heard what he said, Danny would have probably broken his arm in several places as well. You don’t put your hands on the crew.

    Others have commented on “her” letting the drunk get his hands on her. It could be her programming doesn’t allow for action until physically touched if the aggressor isn’t armed. Or it maybe she’s never encountered a real rip-roaring drunk before.

  13. I expect some comments about Estrella working with her avatar with various crew members so she can learn hand-to-hand combat. She should be fast enough to evade any attach but since she only has the theory now she has no real idea how to implement it against these squishy organics. With some practical experience she should be able to put the next ‘Schueller’ into an arm bar and pin him facedown instead of bouncing him off the overhead on his way down the passage.

    If she can hold her own sparring with Ish anyone else will be easy meat.

  14. Thinking it through, I’m not sure that the “lack of training” argument really fits.
    We do it, because we need to develop and ingrain certain patterns of movement . It’s hard to see that applying to a “machine” with digital programming and potentially a full repertoire of human movements already programmed in. If it were merely a case of “not knowing her own strength”, then she would be a danger to everyone with whom she physically interacted. Simply shaking hands would risk injury until she “learned” the appropriate pressure to apply.

    Nor does the “over-reaction” argument sit well with me. That is an emotional response to emotional states such as fear or disgust. It’s hard to see how that applies to a mechanical extension of someone who “lives” outside the simulacrum. She can’t be physically hurt. She can’t be raped. She is very much in control of the situation. It might be more realistic to have him attempt to strike her and break his hand on her facial structure.

    Then there is the physics problem. The movies are full of scenarios where 120lb woman throws man twice her weight. It’s not just a matter of strength, but of inertia and bracing. The simulacrum may be more dense than a standard human and have better ways of bracing against floor and walks than just friction, but it can’t be taken for granted.

    Again… I’m no writer and lack the imagination to solve these problems satisfactorily. I take my hat off to those who do.

    • I’m a 2nd Dan black belt in Aikido, so this is from the perspective of someone with some training…

      From what I recall, this is the first time we’ve seen a simulacrum/avatar fight in the the Rimworld books. All other interactions have been either pure speech or only with minor contact like handshakes. Basic movement programming to me is like watching a Boston Dynamics video short: the machine is moving in isolation in a static environment. It is like doing a solo kata vs sparring. Estrella knows how to move the avatar but until she actually did it she didn’t know how her movements interact with the other person, moving your center is one thing, moving your center AND the other person isn’t something that can easily be described (modeled), only experienced.

      To me any over-reaction wasn’t emotional, it was her not understanding what ‘get separation from the attacker’ actually means. She can’t be injured in a human sense or killed but I’m sure her avatar has force and damage sensing that would give her some level of feedback.

      As far as a lighter person moving someone heavier, if you can pull someone out beyond their feet they will take an involuntary step to try and get their balance back. Once they are unstable it doesn’t take a lot of effort to accelerate them into a tumble.

      • Rick…
        I understand what you are saying, however I have two counters to offer.
        One is that as a starship AI, Estella “lives” in a 3d environment full of moving bodies. Understanding relational movement is one of her core functions.

        The other is that humans learn to move, by doing and making mistakes. We learn to walk by trying and failing and trying again. While we assume an AI has a similar capacity for learning, it seems probable that a fully-functional , super-strong mechanical body would not be something that you’d want to learn by that mode without a LOT of constraints. Otherwise every touch would have the potential to do damage , and every interaction would be the equivalent of going onto the mat with a super-strong but completely inexperienced student. They don’t know when to pull up.

        Granted, that suits your argument regarding this particular interaction, but it doesn’t fit with Essie’s apparently seamless interaction with other humans and potentially fragile equipment.

        Also, I think that there is a big difference between getting someone off-balance so that they fall, and accelerating a stationary person so that they hit the far wall at speed. No?



        • If someone is stationary and aware and responding to my contact you are correct, PeterW, it is very difficult to get them moving. “Lack of Motion creates Resistance” as my Sensei says. The key is to break their balance, as they move to regain it that starts a motion we redirect to deflect the attack or remove the attacker.

          With Schuller being both drunk and amped up he wasn’t going to be settled and centered when he tried to pull Estrella in. Since her simulacrum is heavier than it looks my guess is his ‘pull her to me’ became ‘pull me to her’ so he was moving forward, allowing Estrella to launch him into the overhead.

          In other interactions the simulacrum has sensors for force and position/velocity/acceleration) plus sub-millisecond control loops so Estrella can tune her movements on the fly. We have a much harder time with that kind of real-time control. As an example, when someone shook Estrella’s hand the first time it’s not likely she tried to close her fingers completely, the force sensors let her stop with light or medium contact.

          Cheers back, these are fascinating discussions…

  15. All- THANK YOU! This is why I put these snippets up, is to get the feedback and make the story better. Y’all have given me ‘homework’ to go work on doing a better job with this chapter.

  16. Correction on sparring in ‘verse, it has happened with a similar result. Fargo decided to spar with a heavy worlder crewman on Hyderabad and got thrown into a wall and knocked out.

    So, Estrella breaking Schuller is consistent, even with the mass difference going the other way in this case.

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