1. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    Orbital Prisons, Alien Worlds (SciFi)

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ochalis, Mar 8, 2016.

    I was fleshing out a plot for a story.

    In the future, humanity's most dangerous and clever criminals are housed in a single prison complex orbiting the Earth. Without saying, its colossal. It's also outfitted with very powerful weaponry. And, it can sustain thousands of people for extended periods of time. Sounds like some manner of spaceship, right? So, I had a fun thought: Maybe, if this thing was flung at some planet with intelligent life, how would everything pan out?

    Likely panic on the part of the aliens. Maybe an epic war ensues. Maybe, the planet they crash land on only has one inhabitant: a monster that likes to toy with its prey before feeding. Perhaps a hierarchy? Internal conflict? There's definitely room for complex morality and deep societal themes. Lots of human nature at play, probably. There's so many different possibilities. I think it'd make for an interesting read!

    Now, there is one problem. I need some reason for the prison to fly off into deep space. I was thinking, perhaps an asteroid whips by, and the gravity pulls it out of orbit and leads it off? Or there's some kind of emergency protocol that sends it off into outer-space? Maybe I should ditch the prison idea altogether. Maybe, a sleeper ship, filled with prisoners in cryosleep, en route to a mining station get knocked off course?

    A penny for your thoughts, friends?
     
  2. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    The "en route to _____ for ____ while in cryo-sleep when something bad happens" has been done to death honestly.

    To answer your questions:

    • How would aliens react?: This is extremely vague as you need to figure out WHAT kind of alien and what tier of technology they have, if they only have (their own equivalent) rocks and sticks or do they have enough tech to get off world but not explore anything (like us) or are they space fairing.
    1. If they are sticks and stones aliens they may take anybody alive prisoners or try and kill them straight off, on the other hand if they are kinder they may try to talk with them.
    2. Our tech level aliens would probably quarantine the prisoners until they figure out what to do with us which is up to you.
    3. A space traveling race may think of it as an act of war.,
    4. BUT as I said before this is all depending on what type of aliens you have, I am just going off of what I know of humans and if this were humanoid and much like ourselves.
    • (I don't know if you asked this specifically but here it is anyway) How would the prisoners react: Assuming these are the worst of the worst they will form a hierarchy of the worst of the worst, the strong will want to lead and will fight to be on top, on the other hand the more intelligent once will stand back and watch them fight it out and form his/her/their own plan. The other question is do you want them in cryo-sleep or wide awake for the trip which could drastically change the story, this would mean (if they are awake) that THEY may not be the ones to get to the alien world but it could be their children (assuming this is a co-ed prison) depending on the distance. Or they may have had years to form a hierarchy and have a small community formed together.
    • Why would the prison be ditched into space?: Well I find the simplest and most realistic one would be simple; we don't have enough food to feed them anymore and they have become a liability. This is assuming that the Earth is running low on resources to sustain mankind. Other ideas would be:
    1. A war broke out on Earth and alliances changed, a.k.a. whoever was paying for the prison or whatever country or whatnot are dead or disbanded. This would lead for whoever is left to simply (using thrusters) push the prison out of orbit and let it fly on its own.\
    2. A new president or leader of the country/world decides that all the prison is is a liability and ditches it into orbit.
    3. A prison riot caused the prison to go off course and drift out of orbit.
    Those are my thoughts on the whole thing. Hope it helps.
     
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  3. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    The station gets knocked away and crash lands, however it's been flying through space for god knows how many millennia and it follows the prisoners' descendants
     
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  4. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    Thank you for the very detailed response! I will definitely keep this in mind.

    But a few questions, if I may: You suggested that powers that be push the prison out of orbit and into deep space (which is effectively stranding them). Do they act with the well-being of the prisoners in mind? The acting party/parties face a huge moral objection in casting human beings into space in such a manner, which is subject to serious complaint on part of the people. Unless, perhaps, you suggest a more totalitarian form of government has come to power?
     
  5. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    It depends on why they get sent into space, if it was "Running low on natural resourced" then it would be for the best of mankind.

    If a war broke out then the jail would just not be kept up with.

    If it's a prison riot then there is no government choice.

    If the prisoners are the worst of the worst (I'd assume they are, seeing as how they are kept quarantined) then the prisoners wwouldn't matter to anyone. People tend to look the other way when it ccomes to prisoners and soldiers.
     
  6. Zarsetul
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    Zarsetul New Member

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    How about this:

    The station is hit by a solar flare that kills tons of people on Earth and causes its engines to malfunction and the station flies off into space.
     
  7. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    Cool idea!
    My only problem is that I can't find many reasons the prison would need an engine and/or thrusters. Obviously, its orbiting motion is a given, but aside from that, it remains stationary.
     
  8. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    I see. Thank you for the advice!
     
  9. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    Very interesting! So do you suggest the bulk of the story detail the events in space, inside the ship?
     
  10. Zarsetul
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    Zarsetul New Member

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    Hmm, I thought maybe it would need some form of thruster to
    1. Keep it from straying from orbit like the ISS requires.
    2. Get it into orbit in the first place.
    3. Put the station into a spin in order to simulate gravity. This would be a necessity if a space prison ever existed.
     
  11. pyroglyphian
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    pyroglyphian Member

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    Some people disagree with the death penalty, others disagree with keeping irredeemable convicts alive, so sending them off into space is a nice solution. Saying basically this behaviour isn't welcome on our planet, so go find somewhere else to live.
     
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  12. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    Wow! Well, excuse me. I guess I need to do my homework. o_O Thanks for the advice!
    Also, I don't know much about space, so how would the spinning and gravity simulation work? Like a wheel?
     
  13. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    Good point. But couldn't you argue that sending people off into space like that could be considered an indirect means of killing them?
     
  14. Zarsetul
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    Zarsetul New Member

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    Well the station would have a section that the prisoners would live in. It would be a large ring, think Halo if you've ever played that game. As the ring spins at a certain speed the forces would push everything on the ring outwards, so people standing on the inside of the ring would be pushed against it simulating gravity.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    Huh, nifty. I'll have to look into that more.
     
  16. pyroglyphian
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    pyroglyphian Member

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    Perhaps, yeh, or maybe it's a case of they get left to make their own fate. Spare them some resources for the journey and send them on their way. I was reminded by the English who used to send criminals off to the American & Australian colonies.
     
  17. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    Also you'll need thrusters of some kind to dodge space debris, the smallest thing can put a giant hole in your ship and cause all the air to be vacuumed out into space. That's what the current space stations do.
     
  18. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    Bare in mind, with this system you're always walking uphill.
     
  19. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    The A. I. in charge of the ship goes rogue?
     
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  20. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    Say, perhaps, my prison has an reasonably thick and durable exterior shell. Would this negate the need for thrusters (at least for repositioning purposes)?
    Also, given the size of the prison, would incredibly powerful thrusters be in order?
     
  21. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    Good one. But for what reason?
    Maybe the criminals overtake the prison, the A.I. freaks out, and forces the ship out of orbit so as to distance itself from Earth?
     
  22. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    Maybe it was corrupted by sabotage, or incompetence in the remote programmers. This is going on the assumption that the folks on Earth are actively communicating with the prison. I am also assuming that the ship has non prisoners aboard ( I think that was mentioned earlier). You could make the sabotage for political reasons, religious reasons, or even just a deranged despot.
     
  23. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    I mean a society that ships criminals to space is sure to have a despot or a zealot in the midst, right?
     
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  24. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    That is to say, bear in mind?
    So, how would the prisoners experience, say, exercising? Or a pickup basketball game?
     
  25. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    I would argue yes because our space ships and space stations that orbit the Earth have some of the strongest metals yet the smallest piece of garbage that is orbiting our atmosphere is able to punch through it. So even with stronger metals, the smaller stuff may not be able to puncture it but bigger pieces may.
     

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