Dr Wanderstone


Topic: a new superhero arrives in the Marvel universe. His name is Dr. Wanderstone. Also, he’s a spaceship.

Date: August 2018


Name: VSS Gargantus Wanderstone

Cover Name: Mohammed Lee

Hero Name: Dr. Wanderstone

Crewmembers: 50

Age: 93

Gender: None

Race: Alien Spaceship from Valsyphia

Size: 1m95

Weight: 207kg

Description: tall, muscular bearded man in his thirties, wears tight fitting clothes, no apparent weapons. His costume was designed with the help of the people he met on Earth.

Main Powers: flight, superhuman senses, robotic endurance, integrated weaponry, face-shifting, crewmembers.

Nemesis: Great Party for Big Valsyphia, who commands an entire fleet of similar or bigger spaceships and does not approve of the Wanderstone’s desertion.

Weaknesses: heavy weaponry, internal dissent, birds and small predators

The Ship

The VSS Wanderstone, or Dr Wanderstone, is designed for camouflage and infiltration amongst humanoid civilizations. It has two modes: travel and operation. In travel mode, the ship is fit for space travel but is less agile and does not benefit from camouflage, looking more like a rigid armour with guns.

In operation mode, the ship looks like a standard humanoid from a species chosen by the crew. The design is generated by the onboard AI, which chooses an optimal form depending on the goal of the operation. In the case of humans, male designs are preferred for practical reasons although a female body would also be an option. The camouflage is a tangible outer layer which is “printed” by generator units to form realistic textures (skin, hair, scales, etc.) and can be re-absorbed locally if needed. When wounded, this layer gets removed and reveals the raw metallic material of the ship underneath. Regeneration takes several hours and typically requires a large amount of food (carbon input). The camouflage is impractical for space travel and must be removed before it occurs.

From an outside perspective, the VSS Wanderstone would look like a large, muscular human with precise, meticulous gestures which could be seen as uncanny for a careful observer.

The ship is designed to withstand extreme environments for a lengthy time period: high pressures and temperatures ranging between the void of space and atmospheric re-entry. She can also take hits in a battle: most parts of the hull are bullet proof, but heavy weaponry may cause serious damage with a direct hit. Repairing the inner hull takes more time than the outer layer and often requires ingestion of various types of minerals. Energy is provided by a fusion reactor that uses water as its main source of fuel.

Interior layout

The interior features some of the greatest equipment any ship could wish for: the command centre is located in the head, with a pilot in each eyeball and crewmembers in the skull. Elevators run down the neck to the crew quarters in the thoracic area, while key computing units are located in the navel region, between the main power source, material processing facilities and weapons. The ship’s “kidneys” are used for recycling waste, guaranteeing as much autonomy as possible. Space travel and flight systems are contained in the legs. A larger module, designed specifically for interstellar travel, is currently orbiting the Earth and has to be docked with before the ship can reach any other star system.

Abilities

The Wanderstone can fly using anti-gravity features located in strategic positions as well as powerful engines in the feet. She can listen to several radio frequencies and access the internet. Sensors are located all around the hull, allowing her to perceive her environment in a 360 degrees angle including infrared and night-vision. She detects ultrasound, infrasound and other signals which regular humans cannot perceive. Strength-wise, the ship can lift its weight (around 200kg fully loaded) with ease.

The hands are the main access points for the crew. Fingers may detach and serve as independent jets for fighting and scouting. Each finger has a cockpit under the nails having the capacity for two crewmembers.

Main weaponry comes in the form of a macro-canon in the torso which is capable of blowing up a truck. It requires thirty seconds between shots. Secondary canons in the arms are able to shoot precise laser beams that can cut through steel. In addition, three turrets are installed in each shoulder to guarantee defence capabilities from all directions. They have the equivalent power of small auto-guns. However, the Wanderstone was built primarily for stealth and only resorts to violence as a last option. The ship makes sure to wear clothes that can be easily opened and don’t obstruct those weapons.

Other features include smoke launchers, powerful speakers and a mouth-based water pump.

Onboard AI

The AI cares for the ship, keeps all databases in check to optimise the mission’s chances of success, and aims at ensuring the well-being of the crew. This includes safety, health and satisfaction. Unbeknownst to the crew, the AI may also start considering other humanoids as crewmembers and care for them as well.

As the “brain” of the ship, it renders its movements more natural and “fluid” based on what the pilots command, and manages subtle features such as facial expression, lip movement and coordination for complex tasks. It can be set to autopilot, but this only allows it to accomplish basic missions on its own. The AI can also acquire new routines (for combat, cooking, driving etc.) based on what it learns by observing humans (mostly from the Internet).

It may happen that the ship acts on its own initiative without instructions, if she deems it necessary for the sake of the mission. This has resulted in rising tensions between the ship and the captain. However, it is always possible to manually bypass the AI or even deactivate it if those decisions become too problematic.

The crew

The crew is composed of 50 highly trained members -both male and female- who oversee the mission. Pilots, scientists, doctors, engineers and soldiers. They belong to the Valsyphian race. A typical individual is about 1cm tall, so they cannot communicate with humans without the help of voice enhancing equipment. Otherwise, they are comparable to humans, with their heads being slightly larger compared to the rest of their bodies, and their skin being dark green.

The captain is in charge of taking decisions directly related to the current mission, while other issues are submitted to a vote of the crew (such as what to eat, since the ship can feed the crew by eating). While the Valsyphians have a good sense of humour, they also aim at keeping a professional attitude when the situation requires it.

Crew quarters are located in the upper torso, including dormitories, a dining room, a clinic, a laboratory, a fitness area and entertainment room, plus an emergency room where the crew can take shelter in case of heavy damage. Crew quarters have their own artificial gravity which helps them keep their balance independently of the ship’s position.

Crewmembers are trained to have solid bonds and express solidarity towards each other. However, some of them did not approve of the captain’s decision to defect. They now fear of what would happen to their families. This has led to tensions rising throughout the ship.

Notable crewmembers

Captain Stiof (m.), who is trying his best to survive while preparing to strike against his enemies.

Lt. Lodme (f.), head of engineering, who seconds the captain and takes care of the onboard AI.

Wazsu (f.), who is the an experienced agent responsible for leading EVAs (extra-vehicular activities)

Viat (m.), the lead scientist who still holds a grudge against the captain for deciding to mutiny against the fleet.

Experimental systems

The designers of the ship also incorporated experimental technologies that may not be ready for regular use and as such could be unsafe. So far, these are known to the captain, the lead engineer and the onboard AI exclusively.

                -Macro Canon overcharge: if more destructive power is needed, the main canon can be overcharged with enough power to blow up a building. However this has a high risk of damaging the ship’s torso, which would require extensive repair afterwards.

                -Shrink/Enlarge ray: when you work with individuals a hundred times taller than you are, it can sometimes be practical to bring them down to your level and invite them in. It can also allow for a crewmember to safely explore the outside world for a short period of time (as growing in size can be an extreme experience, while shrinking is much easier). The technology is promising, but the prototype that equips the ship is highly confidential and may be risky to use. The crew is currently trying to contact Ant-man and Dr. Pym to help perfecting the technology.

                -Self-destruct: highly powerful, DO NOT USE!

Origins

The ship was constructed on planet Vasylphia for military purposes, as one of the best ships in the fleet. It participated in various wars for years before the current captain was promoted, conducting spy operations on several bigger worlds. His experience earned him the respect of his crew. However, not long afterwards, the Great Party for Big Valsyphia acsended to power and took over the military. They started waging an expansion war that would “Show the universe how big we are”. The ship was instructed to participate in genocidal activities against of pacific races.

The crew decided that they had not signed for this and defected. They then renamed the ship from Gargantus to Wanderstone. Coming to Earth was a strategic choice, as it would be easier to hide among other exceptional individuals (aka superheroes). They could even ask for help from Earth’s defenders if needed. However, they know that government agents would have no problem recognising the ship should they come close enough: the AI’s signature is easily traceable with appropriate equipment.

Dr Wanderstone arrives on Earth, Marvel Spaceship Superhero

On Earth

The ship has encountered a group of low-profile fighters for justice in the city of Miami, called the Experts. One of those fithters names herself Algorithm, and for some reason the onboard AI seems particularly fond of her. The crew doesn’t know how long it will take before they manage to find help to overthrow the current tyranny on their home world. Therefore, they try to make friends without much experience on how things work on Earth.

The ship is based in the group hangar, and even managed to build a tiny house for the crew to live in. This installation provides minimal safely outside of the ship. This house is almost completely sealed but has more than enough space and comfort for everyone. Keeping the crew moral high is the ship’s priority.

The Earth is a harsh environment: animals and insects are considered potential invaders, so the crew can get nervous if one comes too close. Cats especially tend to make the Wanderstone nervous.

After arriving to Earth, the ship approached Mr. Fantastic for help and managed to obtain some ID papers in the name Mohammed Lee (most common name and surname according to the Ship). Since then she has lived incognito, but recently, rumours about a certain Dr. Wanderstone fighting for justice amongst the experts have started to spread amongst the hero/villain communities.

A Spaceship Superhero - A Synthetic Quill story.

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