1. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Extraterrestrial Vehicles

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by JadeX, Dec 2, 2015.

    In my book, Earth is governed by an extraterrestrial occupation force. They fill all positions of control; government, law enforcement, land ownership, business operation, etc.

    They need their own vehicles, obviously. And naturally, what types of vehicles they may have could potentially have a considerable impact on the plot. But that's where I'm stuck, because it seems that everything has already been done before. Every idea I come up with just screams "plagiarism".

    I had thought, for quick-response police units, maybe they'd use something resembling a flying motorcycle, with two sets of engines (front and back) driven by either rotors (like a helicopter) or jet turbines. But wait a minute - Star Trek did it first. If I included hoverbikes in my story, I'd be denounced and shunned for blatantly stealing from the most popular science-fiction franchise of all time, and that is certainly not a good way to go.

    Flying cars? Dropships? Basically, I'm operating on the assumption that "if there is already a word for it, I can't use it."

    That being said, I really need some help here. All of my creative resources are spread thin trying to tie together everything else in my story, I just simply don't have the time to come up with all this on my own. I'm already a year and a half past when I'd intended to have my story finished, and I've only just begun! I'm... let's be honest, I'm kinda screwed here.

    I need vehicles for ALL purposes: Quick-Response Law Enforcement, Prisoner Transport, Medical Transport (ambulances), Military Transport (personnel carriers), Government Transportation, etc. EVERYTHING.

    Some questions that must be considered:
    1. Would they use wheeled, land-based vehicles like we are familiar with? If so, what might they use wheeled vehicles for and what would they NOT use them for?
    2. What about fixed-infrastructure transport, like some variation of train or monorail? Could be land-based, or there could be some sort of permanent/semi-permanent infrastructure in the skies (or perhaps a combination of both). Like, what about large platforms/hubs/stations that orbit the planet or hover in the upper atmosphere or something?
    3. Flying vehicles - some sci-fi just assumes that after a certain stage of development, ALL vehicles become air-based. I'd prefer not to go this route. I'd like a mix of different vehicles, but I also want it to be realistic. Which brings us to the next question:
    4. What would the ratio of land-based to air-based vehicles be like? Would most of their vehicles operate in the skies, or on the ground? Obviously it would depend on the purpose of the specific vehicles in question, and seeing as I have not designed any vehicles yet, this is very much an open matter.

    I know I'm asking a lot, but I really need some help here. I should not have tried to write a novel, honestly. But now that I have started, I am determined that I AM going to finish it. But, like I said, my creativity is just spread too thin and this is a rather HUGE detail I've just entirely overlooked and neglected. Now I have to kick it into overdrive and fix this problem before I get too far along in my story.

    I promise and swear that when I publish, I will include a whole page dedicated to thanking everyone on this forum who has helped me in any way. I'm not one to steal credit, I give it where it is due. If I use your idea, I will thank you specifically by your username. So don't hold back. I really need all the help I can get. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Bookster
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    Bookster Banned

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    My advice would be to start by disabusing yourself of this idea. Roddenberry wasn't the first to come up with the idea of faster-than-light spacecraft. All science fiction is based on ideas that originated in others' work. Just dream up your world and imagine how people and things might be moved.

    To start, I can't imagine a future where the wheel wouldn't still be a major means of surface transportation.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    For my future world transport vehicles I did a lot of online research into up and coming space travel. There are all sorts of ideas for inspiration from ion drives to future ship designs.

    I'm with @Bookster, though, who cares if you call it a drop ship or a hoverbike?
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with both @Bookster and @GingerCoffee. No one has dibs on shuttle or drop-ship or hover-bike. These are everywhere seen in the land of Science Fiction. Worse in my opinion is for you to go for something really overworked like roller from Defiance, which makes even less linguistic sense when you think about the fact that there are all kinds of people still around who remember perfectly well when they we just called cars.

    Sure. I think they would. Simpler, easier to fix when it breaks. Obviously a better choice for heavy hauling since you aren't expending ridiculous amounts of energy on some sci-fi tech to keep the load floating in the air. I absolutely think that what we think of as a truck (or lorry), semis, trains, all that has a place in the future.

    I don't see why not. The tech could surely exist, but the question is: would it be cost effective? I don't know the answer to that because you still need to imagine the thing in question, but that would be my primary question.
    Unless they fly themselves on autopilot ALL THE TIME, flying vehicles for everyone is just a pretty dream. Some people can't manage to drive a car with four wheels firmly stuck to the ground with any kind of aplomb; they certainly should not behind the stick of an airship that they get to actually control.

    Again, it's a question of economics.
     
  5. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    If your aliens are daring and durable, they could travel by catapult. Not very human friendly though.

    A more technically advanced species may construct some sort of short-range portal system, with a hub allowing for longer distance transportation to further flung parts of their planet or other planets.

    Instead of a traditional wheeled vehicle, you could have something akin to a motorized hamster ball, similar to those seen in Jurassic World. Such vehicles could run on roads or rails.

    If the aliens live on a planet with a dense atmosphere, flight could be easier. I'm no aeronautical engineer, but such an atmosphere could offer more buoyancy than our own, though by how much I couldn't say. This may allow for safer air travel, affording for a greater number of a aerial vehicles.
    Alternatively, you could have a world with a powerful magnetic field upon which magnetic levitation is relatively easy.
    Vehicles from either planet wouldn't work too well on earth though.
     
  6. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    This race is a Type II on the Kardashev Scale. I can assure you economics is not any sort of limiting factor in tech so very tiny. They can mine asteroids and build Dyson spheres around stars, they govern 7 planets and they all have a network of satellites and manned stations orbiting them.

    I agree. Freight trains do play a significant role, and some types of old human vehicles have been re-purposed by the government (such as buses and military troop carriers, typically used for transporting prisoners a short distance).

    I don't want to bring teleportation technology into this. My story is about a mostly-human guerilla force waging an underground war of resistance against the totalitarian government. The odds are already stacked against them, if I add anything to do with teleportation then the plot of my story loses any semblance of credibility. If they can build large portals in space for interstellar teleportation, then surely they can do the same thing on Earth to move supplies and reinforcements to eliminate any resistance.
     
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  7. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    What about a wearable tank exoskeleton that is launched from a cannon/catapult/etc.? It increases the user's mobility and strength with hydraulics, and a horizontal jetpack allows for faster running speed and augmented short distance leaps. The thing's covered in ballistic protection in the form of a polymer weave around a reactive liquid layer that hardens upon impact.

    For transport vehicles, scale it up and add a seperate passenger compartment on the back. The non-military variants probably shouldn't be launched from a cannon though.
     
  8. misteralcala
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    misteralcala Member

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    You could make the vehicles biomechanical, meaning they are biological in origin, but rely on mechanical and electrical components to function as the "brain" and "nervous system". The vehicles could be engineered from the genetic material of thousands of species across the galaxy to possess whatever traits or abilities are desired. They could be grown in huge laboratories or off-world in giant "gestation factories" or "orbital nurseries".

    This way, you could just imagine the best creature for the job. Police vehicles could be armored crab-like mechanoids that produce pheromones that pacify and halt aggression. City buses could be giant hollow caterpillars with soft leathery interiors for comfort. Troop transports could be giant beetles with reinforced exoskeletons. Personal vehicles could be sleek, quick and agile and have glands which produce lighter-than-air gasses for lift and have biological propulsion systems. Space vehicles could consume radioactive materials for fuel or have skin that absorbs cosmic radiation and converts it into energy. Just because they are biological doesn't mean they have to be hairy, lumpy and ugly. They would self-heal, run on organic material, be eco-friendly and recyclable (maybe even edible?).

    You can be tame or get freaky with it. Plant, animal, fungal and exotic alien creatures! Wings, legs, shells, fins, spikes and fur! Spits acid! Eats toxic or biological waste! Emits high-pitched sounds that can cause paralysis and spontaneous bowel and bladder evacuation! (ew!), shoots webs to propel up cliffs! They can engineer a creature for any purpose!

    The vehicles would take time to grow and could be expensive, depending on how large and complex they are. They would also have weaknesses and strengths. They could become diseased and injured, but would be able to heal. Contamination in their production could produce abnormalities or mutations. You could even give them varying levels of basic to advanced intelligence to make some biomechs autonomous. There would have to be very strict rules, regulations, oversight and research at the facilities where the biomechs are made. Otherwise a rogue group could go in there and churn out world-killing leviathans and Ewoks (plot twist?)

    Just a fun idea I thought I'd toss at you. Go nuts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
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