We came across Space Station New Nerva by chance during a comb through the Destination Guide. Designed and built by Bear Thymus, it sits in orbit over the New London Sandbox, and presents an interesting place to both visit and – potentially – for free-form role-play. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it is one of the more interesting space station designs I’ve visited of late in Second Life.
The DG description for the station states it presents “homages to all sorts of science fiction fantasy films and television” – for sci-fi buffs, this is certainly true.
Apparently in orbit above a blue world in such a position that the planet’s star seems to be perpetually rising behind it, the station has something of a Star Trek feel to it. The exterior carries an echo of the orbital facilities first seen is Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and then, inverted, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Not that it is in any way a replica of that facility; rather it contains certain similarities: notably the modules clustered around the central core.
The Trek echoes are evident elsewhere as well: the main ring corridor is reminiscent of those aboard the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D, although those in the space station are broader and squatter, and marked by windows on one side and potentially hazardous high-energy panels on the other. Then, in the centre of the station and rising through three levels, is a massive power structure pulsating with energy in a manner akin to a warp core.
The landing point is located in the primary docking port section of the station. This offers further hints of assorted sci-fi franchises: a TARDIS offers a link with the ground level (and elsewhere), in the corridor outside is a communications / information tower which although circular, nevertheless offers a reminder of the units located throughout Space 1999’s Moonbase Alpha. Also in the corridor outside the arrival area is a module containing a transporter system to off-region destinations (none of which we tried). Plus, for those who cam out, docked at the airlock is a massive space vehicle that in looks and styling, might have arrived from Babylon 5 (it’s interior is also accessible via the connecting airlock).
Beyond this, exploration is split between two primary levels. the upper provides access to the essentials of the station: the medical centre, the Mission Control centre (which, I admit, I was hoping to see labelled “Main Mission”!), hydroponics, a social area and – of course – the detention centre. Each of these facilities is offered within a single module affixed to the station’s main ring, or a trio of modules linked to the ring via a central corridor. The level of the station is completed by a series of inward-pointing corridors that cross-connect the ring, passing around the central power core in the process.
Below this primary ring, and reached by a series of turbo-elevators, is a central lounge area that connects with crew accommodation spaces. These are compact – just a single room encapsulating working, sleeping and hygiene space and a single couch for seating; not a lot of comfort for a hard working crew. However, it is likely the hardest working among the crew don’t really need much in the way of personal space or amenities, as they are anthropomorphic driods that might have stepped out of the pages of a Star Wars novel.
Quite what role-play might be undertaken here is entirely open – there are all the common sci-fi hints (including the body in a Star Trek: The Next Generation uniform, who brings a twist to the hoary old joke about red shirts, and a figure in Imperial robes), but really, it is down to those who opt to use the station to determine the style of play that occurs, and whether it might b based on a popular sci-fi franchise.
Nicely conceived and put together, Space Station New Nerva might not be “two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night”, nor is it “a place of commerce and diplomacy for a quarter of a million humans and aliens”. However, it does provide space enough for adventure and intrigue amongst a small group of like-minded friends. Or, for those wishing to visit and photograph a place that is a little more out-of-this-world as a destination – and the opportunity to hop to other locations for exploration, including the console room of a TARDIS, complete with Cloister Bell chiming ominously, it could be worth a shuttle-ride!