Causa Creations: The Station

About 18 months ago, I got an email from Georg Hobmeier. We’d met late the previous year and realised we know all the same people, courtesy Freiburg and other Germano-Austrian places filled with dancers. Georg wrote:

I’m sitting in a room making games. I might require your particular skillset. It’s the story of a woman who’s supposed to activate an unruly missile defence station on an orbital station. There’s drones involved, vending machines and a lot of death in space.

I replied, “… death in space? I say yes!”

And so, in May 2015 I became something of a copy editor, proofreader, translator, fact checker / researcher (just how big would a standard-ish Oort cloud object of slushy comet nucleus type, or d-type asteroid need to be to flatten a city?), co-writer of Georg’s text for Causa Creations’s and Gold Extra’s interactive sci-fi novella The Station. Which was released on Tuesday.

Which makes me a published sci-fi writer / game writer. I think. Woo!

What started out as a quick-ish proofread turned into a few weeks of ever more involved discussion on identity, feminism, colonialism, 500 years in the future. You know, my usual gear, the parts of my particular skill set you get when you require my particular skill set. Some people think they can get me without the politics, like it’s optional. Not Georg! He knows what I’m about.

Which led to me thinking about the main character — already a woman — thinking about utopian-ish futures, and deciding she was bisexual and brown. Georg replied, “So, did I get this right, our hero is an umber-skinned bisexual? Somehow I picture her now as Deborah Dyer aka Skin!” Or Hannah John-Kamen, or Korra, both of whom were in my sci-fi imagination around then. So when you play The Station you have three handy references for who you are.

You’re in space! But why? And how did you get there?

“The Station” is an interactive sci-fi novella set in turbulent times, which the protagonist has a hard time remembering. It’s an orbital rabbit hole tale developed by gold extra with Causa Creations’ support. Text by Georg Hobmeier and Frances d’Ath, Code by Patrick Borgeat, Sound by Juan A. Romero.

Featuring:

  • lasers
  • brain damage
  • lots of accidents
  • vending machines
  • zero gravity horror
  • one rather short labyrinth
  • visually compelling feature list
  • linux puzzles, but not too hard ones
  • a full menagerie of quirky & annoying maintenance machinery

Please also enjoy a full hour of magical space drone music with deep space bass. Available soon.

Available on: App Store and Google Play.

causacreations — The Station
causacreations — The Station

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von berlin hbf nach freiburg… again

To Freiburg, wondering if there is a future for me here, in Germany or Berlin or… and passing through Spandau the factories and grey fog and dim low clouds return me to journeys so similar yet distant, from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. Or the other way. There though was moist warm humidity and the greyness was smog. The light here is so different to the other side of the world, two hemispheres away.

(… back again to Berlin the same night…)

spandau west of berlin
spandau west of berlin

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von freiburg nach berlin…

Thick carpets of tall brown grass and wild flowers, tiny floating like halos above on gentle seductive hills. I wanted to hurl myself from the train, land crashing into and roll, tumble until one last arm flings me onto my back and stillness, soft lazy herds of clouds, blueness and around the edge of my sight the mass of summer blooms. A silence first from the departing monster train, a silence that is coming up for breath, and then a swelling, roaring inferno of small life, and in the distance, the vast surge that is the wind brushing over all of this.

A tightening, inwardly spiraling circumnavigation, from Frankfurt to Berlin, then south to Vienna, the Tyrol and Zürich, Freiburg and finding myself arcing far more north than I expected, closing the loop almost at Frankfurt again. Different stations, going over instead of curving under and back to Berlin.

I’m in Berlin.

I have a thin hard futon on the floor, white sheets and pillow. My suitcases disgorged the fatty decomposing carcass of washed-up seals. Peanut butter on bread weighing no less than a brick of the same size. Tiredness like jet-lag. Here for a while, my new small home.

I have heard of a place for queers and trans where I might find a bicycle. Might, maybe, a possibility for tomorrow. I spent only a week here and I felt as if this had always been where I was, disconcerting me now to think I am becoming familiar again with a place I only knew for seen days.

Ballet tomorrow. And then adventures.

lamp radiator sleepy…
lamp radiator sleepy…

schwarzwald

Only a bit of it, really. From Annaplatz out and left to the end of the street, past the Turkish grocery store, a trestle covered in fruit, Johannisbeere, which we all seem to recall no one knows the english word for, (so I spent some time on wiki and found it’s red currant…), and then up the hill into the forest, much cooler than on the streets, walking always choosing up, up is the best option, smaller paths and up… and then after a time down, and then to Oma’s Küche for coffee and Johannisbeerensaft.

ferns in the schwarzwald
ferns in the schwarzwald
berry tree on the way to oma’s küche
berry tree on the way to oma’s küche

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von zürich hbf nach freiburg im breisgau

The train stopped in Basel. For quite some time. Moved several meters, stopped again. Moved a little less, stopped. A long time. An announcement that we are delayed. Move again some meters… yes… oh… no… disappointment. One hour later I am free of Switzerland.

Sumi says, “I know you”, fixing me with a terrifying stare (she is not). Eventually we work out she saw Mercy 45 in Zürich three years ago, and was in St Gallen Stadtstheter with Cornelia and Debbie. Tomas is here also, a musician, Daniel and his perhaps boyfriend (a discussion on nomenclature is required), and Clint, who finds me at the train station whimpering, “This is a Small Town, isn’t it?”, and… Paea!!! Not seen since November last year.

I am here for some days, instead of the original longer stay in Zürich and then visiting them all in Luzerne. So I go back to Berlin at the end of the week. And…

Daniel is in the shower with a beer when I arrive. Two suitcases now, one full of books and hiking boots and other stuff I don’t use often. I get quite damp hugging him. The apartment is beautiful, large, a vast balcony, Annaplatz outside, with a plain church bearing a loud and clangy bell, each time it peals I think, oh they didn’t make that very well, did they? Despite my aversion to church-y things, when all the bells in Zürich went swinging, the harmonics they generated were quite sublime, a vibrating, interweaving series of notes far more than the single pitch struck by the clapper, building until the whole city reverberated.

Here the bell goes claaaanggg… and fades out in a mediocre blur, a cast-iron pot dropped on the kitchen floor.

We are told off for having fun before 10pm in the platz. I wonder if the geriatrics have washing machine rosters also? Later he looms out of the window, a sepulchral father pushing aside the curtain, the streetlight making it a Hammer House of Horror moment.

Freiburg is rather nice.

This week is grant writing and other excitement, and… I’m not sure how much blogging will ensue.