Spacers are, in a way, a nation unto themselves. Even with a Bulgarin Drive, journeys between stars take months at best. Away from the rare corridors where local gravity fields align just right they take years.
All this time the spacers are traveling at the speed of light, or faster, within their Bulgarin bubbles. Time passes differently for them, thanks to relativity they age much slower than their planet-bound fellows, and the worlds they return to are often very different from the worlds they left.
These differences have led to spacers developing cultures of their own. Few ever really return home, most sign-on expecting their journey to be a one-way trip, a way of paying their passage to a new world. Others make the conscious decision to leave the society they have known and live the rest of their now extended lives on ships travelling between the stars.
Faced with these long stretches of time, many choose the comfort of a stasis pod when possible, but not every ship has enough space, and at least a few crew members need to be awake at any given time. With all these long periods spent alone, away from companionship and any likelihood of rescue, spacers have learned how to take care of themselves and keep themselves entertained in the vastness of space.
The average ship has thousands of micro floppies loaded with everything from textbooks to the latest smut. Even private ships regularly take on new media at every time they stop. Bulgarin transmitters can only send some much information in a single burst. Spacers get to read the latest from each world they visit, long before the locals at their next destination have ever heard it.
But paper books are expensive. Most media is transmitted of micro floppys or other digital storage media. Spacers (and most locals) choose to use digital books instead, which project the words onto a sheet of transparent plastic.
These devices are surprisingly sophisticated, with buttons that allow the reader to move forward and backward in the book, and to set a limited number of bookmarks.
Spacers are known for their voracious information appetite. Most ships make it a priority to procure more material for their library at every port of call. In this way even privately owned ships serve to keep the disparate segments of humanity connected culturally.
Space is huge and filled with tech, tech that tends to break from time to time. Portable interface terminals like this one are a spacer’s best friend.
Terminals are small and handheld, able to be clipped onto a belt or other piece of clothing. Each terminal is able to connect to a wide array of machines including satelites, life support systems, reactors, and more through a standard connector. Once plugged in the terminal displays a set of standard metrics like CPU usage, temperature, and error codes. The menu, which can be navigated by the arrow buttons in the bottom left, allow the user to to do a variety of things internally.
These hand terminals even give the user the ability to type custom commands or lines of code, although this is not the most user friendly option. Larger portal terminals with dedicated keyboards and graphic user interfaces are generally preferred for those more complex tasks.
All ships, no matter what their purpose, carry basic scientific equipment on board including Ultraviolet/Visual Light spectroscopes, mass spectrometers, and nuclear magnetic resonance instruments. Even if it it not their purpose, any ship might encounter unknown environments that they need to evaluate to determine their safety.
For things that cannot be easily carried back into orbit, spacers often bring handheld units able records local conditions. These units come equipped with a myriad of basic sensors and can be connected to various attachments such as voltage probes. Data collected with these hand-held sensors can be stored and timestamped on microfloppies
For Safety’s Sake
Radiation from distant stars, nuclear weapons, and leaky reactors are a constant danger. Most ships require their crew to wear radiation badges at all times. The badges are painted with specialized chemicals that cycle through colors as the amount of radiation increases. These colors provide a handy guide for spacers trying to quickly assess the safety of their surroundings using a handy guide.
Green = Good
Red = Get Out
Black = You’re probably dead already.
The presence of breathable air is also of importance to all spacers. In response to this danger most spacers also carry small atmospheric field tests. The rods inside are chemically treated to change color in the presence of various gases.