Headline:Mission Patch Iliad 07
Date:Sunday, February 16, 2020
Posted By:Plaid Hatter Games

While I was working on ideas of symbolism, the shape of the Iliad-07's mission patch came to me:

The Iliad, as we all know, is an ancient epic poem. I decided to look at some of the imagery, and see what good ideas I could plunder. I stumbled upon a description of the Shield of Achilles, and it struck me as precisely the sort of image I was looking for.

The description in the poem of this shield would be an Art director's nightmare. I'm not nearly creative enough to do the entire description justice. So I started with the innermost circle of the shield: "The Earth, sky and sea, the sun, the moon and the constellations". And just let myself run away with the ideas.

Careful eyes will note there are 13 constellations, not the traditional 12 signs of the Zodiac. The U symbol is Ophiuchus. The black sheep of the Zodiac. It's a constellation on the Ecliptic, but the Zodiac really doesn't care about constellations themselves, their size, or even if they are still pointing to the right point of the sky for the time of year. The Babylonians just said "Let's chop the sky in 12."

I also had to redo the entire ring at least once, because I had the constellations in the reverse order. They go around the Ecliptic in counter-clockwise order. I had them going clockwise. Hey, I used to work in Planetarium. Getting stuff like that right is important to me.

From there I added a starfield with the constellation Scorpio, and highlighted the star 18 Scorpii. 18 Scorpii is Iliad-07 mission's intended destination. And then I figured the corporate sponsors would want all of their names kind of tacked on. And at the last minute. And to make the whole thing look superficially resemble mission patches from 20th century space programs.

The Ship's name is the SCV Arthur Charles Clarke. SCV stands for Space Colony Vehicle. Arthur Charles Clarke is a famous science fiction writer in their world. He is similar to Arthur C. Clarke in our world, but famous for different books. And for whatever reason he chose to use his full middle name instead of middle initial.

That design is probably intended for print, posters, that name plate that embossed in bronze. For day to day logos, the ship would use a simplified version:

Or use the constellation sign for Scorpio (stolen from Wikimedia):

Technically speaking, the seventh sign of the Zodiac would be Libra, but as the ship is headed into the constellation of Scorpio, that is a better description. Though I'm on the fence. Libra is pretty cool looking:

And why is the ship headed to 18 Scorpii? That star is close in size to our own sun, Sol, but 1.8 billion years younger.

In the calculus of ISTO, 18 Scorpii:

  • Interesting enough to merit scientific study.
  • Far enough to not be a target of Krasnovian conquest in the near term. (Krasnovian logistics technology limit them to 10 year trips.)
  • Close enough to remain in communications with Earth (albeit with a century delay).
  • The star itself is unstable enough that even if habitable planets were be found, the system would be off any sane Alien's list of places to settle.
  • The system is likely to contain comets and asteroids with the raw materials a spaceward culture would need to thrive.

I'm more or less modeling ISTO on the Bentusi from Homeworld games. Their concept for a space colony is something like the settlements they have in the Solar System. No planetary holdings, only fleets of ships and larger stations that hop from minor planet to minor planet on an eternal hunt for raw materials.