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April 5th, 2009

Okay, I did it.  So sue me.

Our intrepid band has boarded the trade-ship Blankets and Beads on their way into the Wild. 

Like all tradeships, Blankets and Beads little resembled the traditional image of ship.  She was more like a small town in orbit.  Domes, spheres, apses, barrels, tubes, and the like were joined in a complexity of angles, connections, and fusions, so that the whole rather resembled a mass of merged soap bubbles.  The resemblance to a town was heightened by the whimsical outer structures by which the pressure vessels were decorated to resemble buildings of this era or that in the long history of human habitation.  The style had been popular among ship-builders a generation earlier, but had grown passé among the inner worlds and survived here among the thrice-used ships at the edge of civilized space. 

The size of the ship was as deceptive as many of her dealings with primitive worlds.  Much of the volume was stuffed with the sort of out-sized alfven engines needed by ships in uncushioned space.  In the Wild worlds, Blankets and Beads could anticipate no assistance from ground-based propulsion, and so must grab the strings of space to pull itself along.  She also contained the sort of roadside imagers needful for analyzing the berms of Krasnikov tubes when sliding through uncharted roads probing for unmarked exits.  It was a dangerous business, as the slightest miscalculation could cause the ship to slide into the subluminal mud and dissipate in a Ĉerenkov blink.  Consequently, while her owners were tight enough with the ducat to outfit her with second-hand gear, they were wise enough to scrounge the very best of second-hand gear. 

The other reason for the impressive size of the trade-ship was that such vessels often embarked on voyages years in duration, and when they did so took along families and friends.  She resembled a small town because on many occasions she was one.  On shorter jaunts on better-established routes, when only the crew was aboard, that opened plenty of facilities for odd passengers. 

Though seldom so odd as these.  A harper, a wildman, and a khitmutgar unclear on aţangku.  She also bore another wildman, a science-wallah, a eunuch, a freemartin, and the Princess of the Farther Spaces. 

That's right.  A Space Princess.  Eat your heart out, Wright!  

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