Location: Aerospace Junkyard

DJR note: submitted by Doc TOC

I’ve just been re-reading Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition (highly recommended if you’re interested in the history of ideas like cryonics, nanotech and private space-flight). In one scene, Bob Truax, private rocketry guru, is described as wandering around his favourite “rocket-part junkyard” when he finds a set of Rocketdyne LR101 vernier engines, used for making course corrections on the Atlas rocket after main engine shutdown. These things cost millions to make, and they’re lying there rusting. He ends up buying them for $25 apiece, and bolts four of them together to make his first “volksrocket”. Truax went on to build the “rocketbike” that Evel Kneivel used on his Snake River Canyon jump.

Anyway, this struck me as a very cool setting for a Yellow Dawn scenario; miles from anywhere, vast acres of abandoned rockets, jets and transports, sand-scoured by the desert winds, yet preserved by the low humidity. Metal skeletons of the previous age. When Yellow Dawn went down, what kind of survivor groups might have arisen here, out of the loners, government care-takers and amateur rocketeers?

Some of the characters in the book would make great NPCs, by the way. The founders of the L5 Society (first real proponents of LaGrange habitats) were into “Recreational Explosives”, and used to go off into the desert and see who could make the biggest bang (one couple won when they made an explosion that looked and sounded like a pocket nuke). They’d also have “Ring Parties”, in which they’d re-enact the scenes from Lord of the Rings that required, smoke, fireworks and explosions, and they had a replica Civil War cannon they called “Taras Bulba”. The main couple, the Hensons, had a ranch house riddled with tunnels underneath, because they had a neighbour called “Wizard”, who “just liked to dig”.

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David J Rodger – DATA


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