Fateful Lightning

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Spacecraft Registry
Fateful Lightning
Spacecraft Characteristics
Base HullSemi cab, 36 semi trailers welded together along with miscellaneous bits
Drive TypeReactionless thrusters
Drive RatingMax velocity 0.05c
OwnerKevin "The Jason" Eaches
Flag of RecordUnited States of America (nominally)
Registry NumberMOERAE-003-N1
Launched21 June, 2008
PurposeBiomod laboratory, home, some asteroid mining (well... farming)
Primary CrewKevin "The Jason" Eaches (Captain)
Clotho (AI - Science Officer, Lab Caretaker, Medical Officer)
Lachesis (AI - Quartermaster, Ship Maintenance, Motherhen)
Atropos (AI - Engineer, Weapons Officer)
Fate (AI - First Officer, Navigator/Helmsman, Communications)
Auxillary VehiclesSC Merlin, ship's shuttle - 'waved 1996 Toyota Tercel.
Operational StatusActive
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Fateful Lightning is the original home of the Jason.

Known Vehicle Quirks

  • On the Road Again: The ship's engine is finicky, and the rated speed is halved if music that the engine likes isn't played while it's in use. Said music mostly consists of trucker songs or songs about traveling. Examples known to work are: On the Road Again, White Line Fever, Driving a Truck With My High Heels On, Wolf Creek Pass, Beep Beep (Little Nash Rambler), Little Old Lady From Pasadena and Bat Out of Hell.
  • I Never Drink... Wine: The part of the ship known as The Garden has absorbed the superstition that blood affects the fertility of the land, and it takes a bit of upkeep. In order to maintain the illusion of a natural landscape on Earth, it requires a blood sacrifice every other day or so; otherwise, the effects start to fade. Usually, a few drops of blood on the ground or on exposed handwavium is enough.
  • Well, Where Would You Expect Goddesses to Live? This quirk is responsible for the ship's nickname, "the Temple;" it's not often one sees a Greek temple floating through space. Originally, the large mass of trailers were simply painted dark blue with stylized marble columns on the corners, and a painting of the three Fates on either side. The handwavium expanded upon this, so that the trailer section now looks like a multi-columned open-air temple reminiscent of Greek architecture. The three Fates move within its confines, their activity mostly determined by the ship's. When at rest, the Fates watch their Tapestry, or do small housekeeping chores. When the ship is moving, they are at work: Clotho spins glowing white thread that crackles with blue and gold lightning, Lachesis measures the threads and weaves them into the Tapestry, and Atropos clips them off where Lachesis marked them. It is also possible to look through the Temple; apparently, the handwavium coating is transmitting light from one side of the ship to the other to maintain the open-air illusion.

Known Crew Quirks

  • Animist: The Jason tends to view most things as alive, some just moreso than others. His Toyota was named Merlin long before it saw a coat of handwavium, and the DNA sequencer/ synthesizer in his lab has been dubbed AGAThA after a favorite comic-book Mad. He pleads with things to work right, murmurs encouragement, and so on. Nothing on board (except the four AIs) has ever responded to him. So far.
  • Pagan Technomancer: The Jason is eclectic pagan; the Garden actually contains a small stone altar tucked away in a secluded corner. Many of the handwavium items he has created have as much pagan ritual behind them as they do technical specifications. Whether this works by helping him focus the intent behind his creation, supersaturating the environment with ideas that resonate with what he wants to happen, or just causing the handwavium to go along with it to humor him, he's convinced that it helps his success rate with making handwaved items. He's never worked the numbers to tell; maybe it does.
  • I'm a Toys R Us Kid: Except for Kevin, the rest of the Lightning's crew are AIs. This means that if they're going to do physical activities aboard the ship, they need drones that they can control. While the ship stocks a variety of drones that were cobbled together for specific purposes, Kevin tends to view toy stores as a perfectly good source of ready-made stock. Why bother to cobble something together from scratch when the toy manufacturers have already got something that just needs a few little modifications and some goo? Besides the made-to-order drones, the ship is crewed/serviced by everything from a modified Robosapiens to tiny electric track race cars, all overseen by Fate and the three Sisters. If you can find it in a toy store, it might be a crewmember. But not Furbies. Never Furbies.
  • Must Consume Mass Quantities: This is a recent development, as the Jason has just undergone a self-prescribed biomod procedure[1]. Between a metabolic rate that has apparently shot through the roof and what appears to be a mental overlay that encourages working out / "training," Kevin is frequently finding that he's eating two to three times the amount of food that he was before... without gaining any weight. And he wasn't exactly a small eater before the biomod.
  • Aspects of Fate: With personalities/viewpoints based on the Greek Fates, the ship's AIs also tend to have hobbies that are appropriate for the Fates. Clotho is into traditional fortunetelling, whether it be astrology or Tarot, and will sulk if she doesn't get her daily horoscope. Lachesis is the most physically-oriented of the AIs, and has drones capable of spinning thread and manning a loom. She weaves fabrics and tapestries, and her efforts adorn various walls in the living quarters. Atropos is interested in another aspect of fortunetelling, and plays the stock market. Although she sticks to penny stocks, she seems to be very good at it, and Kevin sometimes suspects that she discusses various trends with Fate. Fate herself prefers to play the "mysterious Oracle" role, giving cryptic announcements that after the fact seem to be spot on. She also people-watches, analyzing the news and headlines to try to see where things are going. She is far too good at both the probability analysis when it comes to people, and in the oracle role... to the point that even Kevin isn't quite sure if she can actually see the future or not.
  • Block Parents: All of the crew of the Lightning are protective of fenkinder, and notorious soft touches. Any fenkinder that show up at the Jason's airlock are guaranteed a hot meal, a place to crash, and a shoulder to lean or cry on at need. Likewise, anyone trying to threaten/harm one of the fenkinder around the crew should probably make themselves scarce, quickly.


The ship spends most of its time in the Main Belt.

Creator's Notes

I went with a cheap way of getting space. A semi cab... and semi trailers. Lots of them. Decent used ones can be gotten fairly cheaply, and I could get away with older ones for this. I'd just need a lot of space, since I'd be welding them all together for the main body. The Fateful Lightning doesn't tend to come down to Earth - or any other solid body - that often. She's big enough to have a bit of parking space for a Toyota Tercel that's used as a shuttle.

The Lightning has three main sections: the Lab and the Garden, the Living Quarters, and the Workshop/Garage. Each section is three trailers wide and four long, with the Living Quarters being in the center, the Lab on the left, and the Workshop on the right. That gives a ton of viable space within - each section runs around 5400 square feet, before you rough in walls and the like.

Each section is overseen by one of the Sisters. They started out as high-end computer systems that I filled with as much lore on the Greek Fates as possible - including stories about them from modern SF/fantasy. Each one of them also got a complete set of the Ah! My Goddess! shows, and whatever data I felt was needed for their individual sections. I was deliberately hoping to wake them as AIs, and tried to set the stage as much as possible beforehand.

Clotho is in charge of the Lab and Garden, and helps serve as lab assistant and monitor. Personality-wise, she's bright and upbeat, with a voice that sounds like a college-age young woman. She pouts if she doesn't get her daily horoscope, and insists on doing a weekly Tarot reading for those on board, just to see where things are standing.

Lachesis is the Mother archetype for the Sisters and is in charge of the Living Quarters. Her personality tends to be motherly, not surprising, and her voice has a vaguely Irish lilt to it. She monitors general ship's functions to make sure nothing goes wrong. In the way of quirks, she has to be doing something most of the time. When time is slow, she actually spins and weaves, having a wheel and loom set up that can be controlled remotely.

Atropos is in charge of the Workshop and Garage. She's usually in charge of the bigger drones, and is the weapons officer for the ship. Personality-wise, she comes across as someone's grandmother, and her voice is based off a filker friend of mine, Juanita Coulson. One major quirk of hers is that she plays the stock market - fortunately, penny stocks. Still, she's rather good at it. I suspect she has Fate's help.

Fate is a fourth computer system set up in the semi cab. She handles navigation and whatever else needs doing. Her system actually links the other three so that all of them are aware of what is happening in the ship, and while a separate entity in her own right, part of this AI consists of a gestalt of the other three. Personality-wise, she's calm, and tends to be slightly mysterious. Her voice is actually a Greek chorus, the voices of the three Sisters speaking as one. She's so good at analyzing situations and data that I often suspect that she might actually be able to see the future. She certainly plays the role of Oracle to the hilt, loving to give somewhat cryptic replies about what the future will bring.

The Workshop section has the parking space for the Tercel, as well as some extra space in case company comes calling. It's the drone garage, and has various odds and ends for cobbling together new drones/equipment that I might need. It has a carsized airlock at the rear of the bay, as well as several smaller locks along the side to pop out drones. This is also the engineering section, containing the drive for the ship.

The Living Quarters are decent - more space than furnishings, though this is slowly being corrected as time passes. There are areas set up for food and water storage in this section, as well as a smaller man-sized airlock in the rear. At the front of the bay, a metal corridor leads out to the semi cab, connecting to the right-hand door of the cockpit area.

The Lab is where most of the paying work gets done. Handwavium culturing, grow chambers for various experiments as well as large freezers for cell and tissue cultures and seed banks. Basically, it has everything a good mad scientist would need for biomodding, and some of the equipment has been upgraded with handwavium as well.

Probably the most unique portion of the ship is the Garden, which is the rear half of the Lab section. It was designed to be a retreat against being cooped up in space/a giant box with no access to the outdoors. Set up with murals of outdoor scenes on the walls, as well as a sun spectrum moving lamp on the ceiling and hidden sprinklers, then everything covered with handwavium, soil and then plants added. It was initially a disappointment - though the garden itself was nice, it didn't hide that you were in a box. That was before the main quirk of the area was discovered; the entire area has taken up the belief that blood lends fertility to the land. Specifically, my blood, since the entire ship is my domain. The first time I scratched myself on a rose bush and got some blood on the ground, the area awoke fully. The next time I came in, you could no longer tell that it was a box. With the door shut, it appeared to be a landscaped clearing in the outdoors. The actual size had not changed; you could still touch the walls. But the optical illusion makes it look like an open area. Clouds can be seen to move in the "sky," and at night there are stars and a moon. To keep the Garden happy, it needs a periodic feeding of blood; fortunately, it's not too thirsty. A symbolic few drops every few days seems to satisfy it and keep the illusion going. Since I'm diabetic and check my blood sugar, I tend to do that in the Garden so that I can feed his glucometer and the handwavium at the same time.

Let's see... what else. There are various radio-controlled drones that the AIs use to keep the ship going. Most of them are from toy stores and upgraded with handwavium. Why try to cobble together a drone when toymakers have already made perfectly good ones - just add goo. A small dome has been added to the roof of the Living Quarters, reached from a spiral staircase in the main area. This is used mainly for stargazing.

There's more to the ship, but this gives at least a brief overview of the place.


The Fateful Lightning is featured in the following stories:

  • Leaves from the Jason's Logbook
  • (tbc)


  1. You know what they say about lawyers who have themselves for a client... does that apply to biomodders? Physician, screw thyself?