An Online
By Jon
and Mark

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Chapter One

Fan Art
and Extras

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Mark sez: Here's a few words about MoS's concept art...

Concept Art: Miscellaneous

The Martian spaceship Qin Shihuangdi. The Qin's lines got a bit more restrained and less swooping art-deco once it appeared in the story proper, but other than that this concept is pretty close to the final results. In my original sketches the Qin was supposed to be able to rearrange its pieces into different configurations depending on the current situation. Well, come to think of it maybe the Qin could indeed have done that, but I guess we'll never know now.

The floating city of Applegate Landing on Ganymede was one of the most carefully designed locations in the story. I tried to puzzle out some of the issues that would affect such a city's appearance. For example, it had to be able to grow organically, by having new plates and buildings added on; it had to be able to supply its own electrical power; it needed at least a rudimentary ability to steer so it wouldn't crash into other cities; and so forth. Coming up with the right answers was great fun.

That crazy Benjamin Prester! He has this weird obsession with not being exposed to hard vacuum, so Caprice whipped up this Martian spacesuit for him to use on Io. Originally, the spacesuit was supposed to fold up into its helmet when not in use, but that meant excess logistics in the scene (Benjamin has to put the suit away then get it back again) so now it folds up into a handsome bracelet. With ultralight nanotech materials, well, why not?

I knew from the start I wanted to base the Solar Navy cruiser Gorbachev on the U.S. Navy's Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. That being said, though, it had to be a practical spaceship. For example, nobody in MoS (other than the Martians) has artificial gravity, so the Gorbachev had to accomodate a rotating section to provide simulated gravity. Inventing a design that wasn't just an obvious copy of Babylon 5's Agammemnon was tricky.

The first space marine seen on the Gorbachev wasn't originally even anyone special in the scene -- just "another crewmember," whose uniform details I made up on the fly. Once Sgt. Bhroinn made his appearance as the commander of the Marines, I went back and designed their uniforms and weapons properly. I'm amazed by how much that helps sometimes.

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