Life aboard Vritra
Updated 2 years ago
A story

High Concept

A character design exercise using a setup and story keeping myself as the inspiration.

A Quick Look

3rd Person Story

The means of interstellar travel were discovered many millennia ago, but actual space travel has become possible only after the secrets of immortality were unlocked. The meaning of civilization has changed, and many secrets hidden in the deepest reaches of the universe have been unlocked. But, the universe is infinite. Our imagination cannot fathom the size of the universe. Many more truths are still hidden somewhere there, in all the infinity and darkness. All that is discovered is nothing compared to what is still unknown.That is what drives Gaara.
With endless time on his hands and the thirst to know (not necessarily understand) everything the universe could offer, he had set out in his spaceship Vritra. Without a destination in mind and only with the aim to find something new he had left on this journey almost 400 years back. He had designed Vritra himself to suit him and his needs on this very long journey. Almost 2000 years old, Gaara was still not amongst the elders of his race. Humanity had experts in all fields and with them being immortal their expertise was permanent, controlling all information flow. Gaara on the other hand did not want to become an expert in a single field but aspired to become someone who knew about everything the universe contained. He had previously tried his hands on everything which could be done. Music, art, science, politics, sports, philosophy, engineering, sociology, and all the things documented were something he had tried and achieved proficiency in. Never striving to become the expert of a single field, he moved on to something new after achieving a certain level of skill. His elders had always criticized his lack of effort, from their point of view, to become the single known authority in any of the things he tried. Gaara certainly loved somethings more than others but according to him it did not mean that he should make them the sole purpose of his life. He had to know about everything. That is why he had set out with no destination in mind. With all the time to do whatever he wanted and nobody to question his thoughts it was a journey of self-discovery as much as a quest for knowledge.
Vritra was befitted to serve all Gaara’s needs and wants. It had all the musical instruments he played, a more than sufficient stock of books he had to read (enough to last another lifetime of his), all the games he wanted to play, but his favourite spaces were the ship deck and the basketball court. You could see him on the deck relaxed and uncaring. He could sit there for hours without moving staring at the stars and the blips of light, not moving at all lost in thought. For him it was always a sight to behold and contemplate your existence vs. the expanse of the universe. The number of stars compared to the number of things Gaara wanted to do, but the one true love of his life was basketball. But, he was not so eager to play a game now.
Bardock had challenged him to another one on one game that day. All the silence and loneliness aboard the ship was more troubling for him than Gaara. Bardock’s superior intelligence was always at a disadvantage on this and only so much entertainment could be provided on Vritra. Defeating Gaara always cheered him up, and Gaara’s bad mood which followed was just the cherry on top.
The basketball court aboard Vritra was a half-court affair. A board, a ring with surrounding wooden floor. The floor area also acted as the badminton and squash court. Most of the sports area on Vritra had been designed for multi-purpose use. After all, Gaara did want to play everything.
Bardock was tall and muscular as compared to Gaara’s small and slim stature. This was not necessarily a disadvantage as he was faster and more agile than Bardock. In all the 400 years aboard Vritra Gaara had never been able to defeat Bardock. Today he decided would be the last day he let him win. He had to show Bardock his true skill, if he felt bad later, it didn’t matter.
Gaara entered the court wearing his long hair in a ponytail. The court was one place he did mind his hair coming over his eyes. He was a shooter after all. Bardock spoke out the rules, and like always Gaara was not listening, he was already planning how to win. They decided on shooter’s start and Gaara sunk the free throw. Starting behind the three-point line he faked a jump shot, then faked a drive, Bardock stumbled and seeing his chance Gaara drilled a three pointer. Getting the ball again he did not even give Bardock a chance to get his feet settled and swished another three. 6-0 in Gaara’s favour. Seems that he will win after all. It looked like he was in the zone. Another three-point attempt, but this one hit the rim and the rebound was collected by Bardock. What followed later was a demolishing. Layups after layups, Bardock used his size and post up moves to bring the score to 6-10. Gaara tried to steal the ball many times but Bardock had the necessary ball handling skills. Gaara had just trained him too well. To finish, Bardock just repeated Gaara’s first move, to the expressions, fake, fake and a three to finish the game. Gaara’s face showed his misery for just a moment, which was missed by Bardock. The expression was resolve.
Gaara new that Bardock would do a replay of the entire match over dinner. He did not look forward to that. He went to the deck, resuming his star gazing. He would have a shower before dinner. Why did he even build that stupid android. He could just turn him off. All the trajectory calculations had already been completed and everything was already fed into the systems. He decided today he would turn him off, better yet he would just paralyze him, that bugger would know who’s the master then. After dinner Bardock went for charging. It would take him some time to go in standby, and then Gaara decided he would cripple that over-sized bot.
The stars were still wonderful and Gaara lost track of time, falling asleep. Waking up suddenly he had almost forgot his revenge plans. The starry background had not changed in a while, he would have to do a manoeuvre change in some days. He would need Bardock for that. Thinking calmly about it, even the third missed three pointer was a fluke, he would get it right the next time. He would practice tonight and finish the game in three pointers tomorrow. He could shut him down and do the calculations himself too. But then who would do the dishes? Do the dishes and cook the food too? Not really the best plan for the next century or so.

Converting the story to a better suited First Person Narrative

Staring at the sky is the best pastime ever. The truth and its meaning is hidden somewhere there, in the infinity and the darkness. Sitting at the deck, watching all the stars, so far so out of reach puts in perspective how small compared to the universe our knowledge is. Me and my ship, maybe a small blip in the darkness, had set out into the unknown to discover something. Whether it is new or not, does not really matter. The stars as an ever-existing background is addictive and when you’ve got nothing else on your hands, or even when you have something to do, it is a sight to behold. 400 years on this journey and this sight still gets the better of me.
It is not just me on the ship, and Bardock does love to remind that more often than not. The silence and the loneliness I have found is more troubling to him. His intelligence is a disadvantage at this and I can only provide so much entertainment. He has already asked me for another basketball match today. I swear he just does that to get me in a bad mood. Not once, not once in all these years aboard Vritra, my ship, have I been able to best him. Not even once, and I made him! I guess today is the day. I have been going easy on him just to make him cheerful, by my misery of course. Today he will see what a true basketball genius can do.
I had installed the centrifuge in my ship just to play basketball. Never would I have thought that it would haunt me till the end of my days. Stupid Bardock. I don’t know how he got so good at this, he used to suck back home. I guess the stars have become my companions because of the defeats. Well no more. I won’t give up on the stars, they hold the same value as basketball now, but Bardock you better find a new pastime.
He speaks out the rules as always. Possession clearance, defender calls the foul, no rebounds, one tries and on and on. Yeah both of us know the rules. Just let me defeat you already. Today is the day. Shooters start. And obviously, I make the free throw. I go behind the three point-line do a jump fake, then fake the drive, and next is the swish bomb. 3-0. Today is really my day, next turn. I don’t even bother faking I just shoot and guess what, another three. Oh! I am loving it. Shit, now I miss McDonald's. Let’s see how far into the zone I am. Another three, but it hits the rim. No worries I am up 6-0. Only 5 more to go.
What followed was why I spend so much time at the deck. He demolished me. Layups after layups, just using his size advantage over me. I had had taught him all those moves, and he dares use them on me! You F*#$/*. I cannot stop him doing a post-up. I tried to steal the ball but his ball handling skills are as good as mine. 400 hundred years of being fed into the system and all. He went up to 6-10 and then just to humiliate me,goes behind the three-point line, does a jump fake, fakes a drive and then goes ahead and guess what, drills a three. 6-13. SHIT, SHIT, SHIT.
He will now recap all of this at dinner. I hate this android. Why did I even make him? I should just turn him off. I needed him in the beginning for navigation but now he has already done the calculations and fed it into the ship. Yes, today at bed time I will switch him of. Better I’ll just paralyze him. Ha-ha, that bugger will know who’s the master then.
We had dinner and he went for charging. He’ll be lost in his calculations and parameterization soon. I’ll watch the stars for a while and then it is time for crippling that over-sized bot.
The stars look so wonderful. I try to find what has changed in 3 hours. It seems like we are going in a looped GIF. Nothing has changed even a bit. Well we are due for a course change in 240 hours. We will see then. I think I will let Bardock be till then, what if he hasn’t reviewed the manoeuvre. I think I will let him. That missed three was just luck. Tomorrow I will finish the game in 4 shots. If not tomorrow, there is still time. If I shut him down, I’ll have to wash the dishes and cook food. I cannot wash dishes for the next century, no way!
Jayant Kumar
Game Designer - Student